Sinovac jabs for gov’t execs? On ‘substitution basis’ only, says Duque
MANILA, Philippines — For Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Sinovac vaccines for COVID-19 should only be used on government officials on a “substitution basis” if the intention is to raise public confidence.
In an interview, Duque was asked whether any government official has volunteered to be inoculated with the China-made Sinovac vaccines to raise public confidence.
Duque was not able to provide an immediate answer but said that should that be the case, it should only be done on a substitution basis. The health secretary, however, stressed that his remarks are not final as it is the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) that will still decide on the matter.
“Halimbawa may bakunang sobra, o hindi sumipot yung kumpletong nasa listahan ay ayan pwede sigurong ipagamit sa mga opisyal o kung sino pero hindi tapos yung aking sinasabi patungkol diyan dahil depende pa yan sa IATF mamaya,” Duque said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
(For instance, there are excess vaccines or those in the list of recipients did not show up then maybe we can use that for government officials. But what I am saying is not final since it still depends on the IATF later.)
Duque said government officials cannot be prioritized in the vaccination program as they will be called “VIPs” by the public.
“Pag-uusapan din yan sa IATF mamaya. Sisiguraduhin din natin na mamaya, kailangan parang on a substitution basis lang. Hindi pwedeng mauna [ang government officials]. Kasi kung mauuna kami, sasabihin na naman ng taumbayan, VIP,” Duque said.
(We will discuss that in the IATF meeting later. We will make sure that it should just be on a substitution basis only. Government officials cannot be first in line because if we are first, the public will say we’re VIP.)
“Ang hirap eh. Ang hirap i-position ‘yung sarili mo sa ganito dahil maya’t-maya mayroong babatikos sayo, may babanat sayo. So tingin ko ayan pag-uusapan maiigi ng IATF mamaya,” he added.
(It’s a difficult position because you frequently get criticized. I think that will be tackled in the IATF later.)
Meanwhile, the rollout and allocation of the Sinovac vaccines will also be tackled during the IATF meeting scheduled on Friday morning.
“Mayroon tayong allocation plan, ‘yung prioritization and allocation plan. ‘Yun ang susundin natin pero kailangan lang ng final na decision on the matter by the IATF,” Duque said.
(We have a prioritization and allocation plan. We will follow that but we need the final decision of the IATF on the matter.)
Included in the discussion is the issue of healthcare workers being the first recipients of the vaccines especially after the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) earlier recommended that the Sinovac vaccines not be used on healthcare frontliners and senior citizens.
“Nung una nga, alam naman natin na sabi ng FDA, it’s not the best vaccine for the healthcare workers. Pero ngayon parang lumalabas na hindi naman sinabing hindi pwedeng gamitin so yun ang bibigyan natin ng malinaw na desisyon mamaya sa IATF,” Duque said.
(We know that the FDA has said that it’s not the best vaccine for the healthcare workers. But they did not say that it cannot be used so that’s what we are going to decide on in the IATF.)
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