Bayan Muna slams Roque: People have right to be ‘choosy‘ with COVID-19 vaccine | Inquirer News

Bayan Muna slams Roque: People have right to be ‘choosy‘ with COVID-19 vaccine

/ 02:02 AM January 12, 2021
2021-01-12 Ferdinand Gaite

Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite. (File photo by NOY MORCOSO / INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos have all the right to be “choosy” with the COVID-19 vaccine they would want to be injected with, especially since it’s a matter of public health and safety, Rep. Ferdinand Gaite of the Bayan Muna party-list group said in a statement issued on Monday.

Gaite was reacting to a remark made by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque during a news briefing that Filipinos, though they had the right to good health, should not be “choosy” with the COVID-19 vaccine they should have.

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“Mr. Roque, if it is a matter of safety and effectivity, if it involves public money, then the people have the right to be ‘choosy,’” Gaite said.

“It’s your job and responsibility to the public to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective,” he added in Filipino. “It’s only right that they should be ‘choosy’ for their own safety.”

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“What you said makes it seem it’s not the welfare of the public is not the primary concern [of government officials]. It seems they just want to get it over and done with. As long as it’s done, then come what may. It’s the same haphazard attitude that we have seen in their pandemic response since day one,” he went on.

During the briefing, Roque also said that the people prioritized for getting vaccinated could opt out, but they would have to sign a waiver indicating that they passed up on the vaccine. So along with the rest of the public, they would just have to wait for other vaccines to become available.

“There’s no option to choose because we can’t really control what will come. And this is for free,” Roque said, speaking partly in Filipino. “It’s true that we all have the right to good health. But we can’t be delicate about it because so many Filipinos have to be injected.”

There is a growing preference among some Filipinos towards vaccines from the western countries, like those made by Pfizer and Moderna, rather than the ones developed by China.

This thinking grew after it was revealed that the Sinovac vaccine — which comes from China — has an efficacy rate of 50 percent. This is way lower compared to other vaccines that carry an efficacy rating of around 90 percent.

But Roque dismissed those with this preference as having a colonial mindset. He also pointed out that vaccines such as those from Pfizer could not be transported to far-flung areas since they would require a cold chain facility to retain their effectiveness.

In reply, Gaite said: “The Palace should not be dismissive of the public’s concern regarding their health and safety. It’s not too much to ask the government to make sure that the vaccine that will be used is safe and effective. Whether the vaccine that will be used to inoculate the public for free is bought or donated, the law mandates that it be certified safe and effective.”

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“Pag-aralan nila at i-ulat ng tapat sa publiko ang impormasyong kailangan nilang malaman tungkol sa bakunang ituturok sa kanila. Kailangan nilang tiyakin iyan sa taumbayan para palakasin ang kanilang tiwala sa vaccination program ng pamahalaan,” he added.

“They should study and report truthfully the information they need to know about the vaccine they would be injected with. They need to assure the people so that strengthen their trust of the vaccination program of the government.”

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For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19 Vaccine, Ferdinand Gaite, Harry Roque, Sinovac
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