Duterte to those who refuse Covid-19 vaccination: ‘OK, that’s your choice’
MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos have a choice between getting vaccinated against Covid-19 or not, President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday.
“For those who do not want to be vaccinated, okay lang sa akin. Wala akong problema. Ayaw ninyong magpabakuna? Okay, that’s your choice,” he said in a press conference after the turnover ceremony for the Sinovac vaccines that arrived from China at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
According to a recent survey done by OCTA Research, a group of top academicians studying the coronavirus pandemic, only 19% of adult Filipinos are willing to get immunized against Covid-19 while 46% are unwilling even if an effective vaccine is available.
Duterte earlier urged Filipinos to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible as vaccines are backed by science.
Meanwhile, health care workers who don’t want to be injected with the Covid-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech should wait for a few days more for the arrival of the vaccines from British-Swede pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, the President said.
“Mayroong dadating, they have a choice. It’s either AstraZeneca or Sinovac. Kung ayaw nila ng Sinovac, maghintay sila. Basta I was assured that it would be coming within the next few days,” he said.
The Sinovac vaccine was earlier issued an emergency use authorization by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but its use was not recommended for health care workers due to its lower efficacy rate of 50.4%.
Despite this, the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (Nitag) later recommended the use of Sinovac vaccines on healthcare workers.
Meanwhile, the shipment of 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines, which were set to arrive in the Philippines on Monday, March 1, was delayed for a week due to global supply issues, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
On Sunday, the Philippines received its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines, which are 600,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccines which were donated by the government of China.
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