Cainta mayor backs out of Chinese vaccine talks as constituents reject it
MANILA, Philippines — Mayor Keith Nieto of Cainta, Rizal, on Friday revealed pulling out of negotiations with a Chinese pharmaceutical company for Covid-19 vaccines.
This, he said, was because his constituents insisted on social media that they do not want vaccines from China.
According to Nieto’s post on Facebook, he was looking to augment the vaccine supply already secured by the city government by talking with a Chinese company which he did not name.
To date, Cainta has sealed a deal with British-Swedish company AstraZeneca for Covid-19 vaccine supplies although details of which are not yet known due to a confidentiality agreement between the two parties.
“Sabi ko nung makatlo, may confidentiality agreement na akong pinirmahan with AstraZeneca. Tas nabanggit ko na mag nego(tiations) ‘yung team natin with a Chinese company na mag augment sana ng vaccine kung kulang ang mabibigay sa atin ng Astra(Zeneca),” Nieto said.
(The other day I said that we have signed a confidentiality agreement with AstraZeneca, and then I mentioned that our team will negotiate with a Chinese company in the hopes of augmenting our vaccine supply if what AstraZeneca would provide would not suffice.)
“Tas daming comment sa thread na ayaw ng vaccine galing China. Eh ‘di ‘wag nating bilin, sus. ‘Yun lang pala,” he added.
(And then a lot of comments on the thread said they do not want a vaccine from China. Jesus, that’s easy, let’s not buy that.)
Nieto said he just wanted to make sure many people would receive the vaccine, but if the people do not want it then he does not have a choice.
“Ang gusto ko lang naman, mabigyan lahat. I have directed our Covid vaccine documentation team to terminate talks with our potential second supplier… and secure other sources apart from the entities we have so far met with,” he noted.
(What I only want is to vaccinate everyone. I have directed our Covid vaccine documentation team to terminate talks with our potential second supplier, and secure other sources apart from the entities we have so far met with.)
“Ayos na tayo ha.. dali lang ako kausap,” he said in jest.
(We’re good now, right? It’s easy to talk with me.)
Currently, China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech have developed Covid-19 vaccines. Most of the Philippine government’s vaccine procurement appears to be from Sinovac, as Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said this jab is cheap but effective.
Local government units like Cainta, however, have made deals with other manufacturers like AstraZeneca and US-Germany’s Pfizer and BioNTech.
READ: BY THE NUMBERS: Covid-19 vaccine supplies PH gov’t, LGUs will get
But the problem with Sinovac’s vaccine is that many doubt its efficacy as there seem to be some transparency issues on its clinical trial results. Released information on the vaccine’s efficacy mostly come from countries that hosted clinical tests and not from the company itself. Brazil, for one, recently said Sinovac’s vaccine only has 50.4% efficacy.
Despite this, however, Malacañang has repeatedly assured the public that vaccines from Sinovac are safe even if many prefer jabs made by western pharmaceutical firms.
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