MMDA chair Abalos assures public: Sinovac vaccine is safe, effective
MANILA, Philippines — After getting his Covid-19 vaccine Monday morning, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairperson Benhur Abalos assured the public that there is nothing to worry about being immunized against the disease.
Abalos explained in an interview with Teleradyo hours after his vaccination that he felt no adverse effects, except that he was hungry because the processes before and after a person receives the vaccine — blood testing, blood pressure monitoring, filling up forms, and an after-care observation — took some time.
“Okay naman po, sandali lang ito, kinunan po ako ng dugo, blood pressure, tinignan po ang aking oxygen, pinafill-upan po ako ng form at pagka-bakuna po ay inobserbahan ulit ako, actually wala naman [adverse effects] eh, parang nagutom lang ako dahil mahaba po ‘yong [process] pero okay naman po lahat,” Abalos said.
(It went okay, it took only a while, blood samples were obtained, my blood pressure and oxygen levels were monitored and I was asked to fill out forms. After being vaccinated I was observed, but actually there were no adverse effects, I just felt hungry because the whole process took a while. But everything’s fine.)
While he admitted that the Filipinos’ apprehensions over getting the vaccines may be caused by controversies surrounding the dengue vaccination program of the past administration, he clarified that the vaccines, especially the Sinovac Biotech vaccine that he received, are safe.
“Ito pong Sinovac ay traditional na vaccine o bakuna. ‘Yon pong sistema niya, ‘yon methodology niya, ay para din pong bakuna sa polio, sa measles, sa chickenpox, na ‘yon pong virus ay tinatawag na inactivated. Ibig sabihin na inactivated, kukuha ng isang virus, tatanggalin po ‘yong mga masasamang karakter nung virus, kumbaga sa bala, tatanggalin mo ‘yong pulbura ng bala,” Abalos explained.
(Sinovac’s vaccine is a traditional vaccine. It’s system and methodology are similar to the vaccines for polio, for measles, for chickenpox, wherein the virus attached is called “inactivated.” That means they would use a virus without its harmful characteristics, like a bullet where the gunpowder is removed.)
“Tapos ‘yon po ang sinasaksak. ‘Pag saksak, para malaman ng katawan mo, para mamemorize niya, kung tatamaan ka man lang may panghanda na antibodies ang katawan mo. So ito’y napaka-safe, kasi po ‘yong ibang brand, kakaiba na, modern na, talagang gumagamit ng, tawag nila ‘RNA’ na pupunta doon sa protina ng DNA et cetera,” he added.
(That is what is being administered. After that, your body would now know and memorize so in case you contract the disease, your body can prepare antibodies. So this is very safe, because other brands use very different and modern methods, which use what they call RNA methods which go to the proteins, et cetera.)
The country launched its Covid-19 vaccination rollout after Sinovac donations from the Chinese government arrived on Sunday afternoon. Among the first to legally receive vaccines are Philippine General Hospital Director Dr. Gerardo Legazpi and other health staffers, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Eric Domingo.
A lot of concerns surrounded Covid-19 vaccines, especially those made by China-based companies like Sinovac. The procurement of Sinovac vaccines were questioned by a lot of government officials and netizens because supposedly, there were other vaccines more effective and cheaper.
But government officials including those from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) stressed that the Sinovac vials would be purchased at below P700, and that the vaccine would ensure that takers would not get severe symptoms even if they contract the disease.
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