Be ‘very careful’ with declarations, health execs told after FDA notice on CoronaVac
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday advised health officials to be “very careful” with their pronouncements on pandemic-related issues, saying they could be “misunderstood.”
“Perhaps it is best that when the Department of Health or officials of the Department of Health make statements, it’s best that you clear it with the Secretary of Health,” Sotto said during the Senate’s plenary session.
“Kung minsan ‘yung mga nasasabi natin, nung ibang mga bureaus under the Department of Health, it is misunderstood, it is misinterpreted,” he added.
According to Sotto, it would be best if the health chief would be the one to make pronouncements on “very critical” issues.
“Medyo iwasan natin yung bitaw-bitaw sa media ng mga salita na hindi nakakatulong sa kinalalagyan natin,” the Senate president went on.
Sotto issued this “unsolicited advice” to officials of the Department of Health (DOH) following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) pronouncement that it does not recommend China’s Sinovac vaccine or CoronaVac for health workers and senior citizens even after it granted an emergency use authorization to the jab manufacturer.
“Those kinds of statements could be misinterpreted and misunderstood. The buck stops with the Sec. of Health,” the Senate president said in a separate message to reporters when asked about his advice to DOH officials.
“Unless it is Sec. [Francisco] Duque who makes such announcements, the other officials should be very careful with their pronouncements,” he added.
Some senators were puzzled about FDA’s granting of EUA to CoronaVac but also sending a notice that it does not recommend its use to health workers attending to Covid-19-infected individuals with Sen. Francis Pangilinan saying that the government regulator’s remarks were “quite problematic” and that the EUA granted to Sinovac seemed like a “half-hearted” or a “half-baked endorsement.”
“How will our citizens — those who are not frontliners — how will they feel if they are assigned the Sinovac dose rather than the doses which have no negative recommendations?” Senator Francis Pangilinan asked during Monday’s Senate session.
During the same session, FDA Director-General Eric Domingo, through Senator Sonny Angara, clarified that the vaccine developed by Sinovac can be inoculated to health workers not treating patients afflicted with Covid-19.
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