Lorenzana defends Sinovac vaccine, says it’s victim of ‘fake news’
MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana defended the use by the government of CoronaVac, the vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech pharmaceutical firm, saying “fake news” about it was discouraging Filipinos from getting vaccinated for coronavirus.
In a statement, Lorenzana said CoronaVac was also being used by other countries, including Thailand which the defense chief said was the second richest country in Southeast Asia.
He said vaccines should not be politicized.
The Philippines on Monday (March 1) started its vaccination campaign after the arrival of 600,000 doses of CoronaVac donated by the Chinese government.
There have been concerns on CoronaVac because of its low efficacy rate compared with other brands. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said CoronaVac is not recommended for health workers and the elderly. Multiple reports said CoronaVac yielded an efficacy rate of 50.3 percent during trials in Brazil.
“Let us spread facts,” Lorenzana’s statement said.
“Countries like Thailand, which is the second richest in Southeast Asia, rolled out Sinovac in their vaccination program yesterday. Hong Kong, a progressive metropolis, uses it, too. Malaysia and Singapore have started to receive Sinovac as well,” Lorenzana said.
He said Sinovac has been supplying “effective and affordable” vaccines for rabies, tetanus and flu to the Philippines since 2009.
He said criticizing the vaccine without knowing the technical facts would only discourage the people from getting inoculated.
“This is just the first brand to arrive, among other brands that are scheduled,” Lorenzana said.
“Don’t politicize the vaccine donation and use it as a political propaganda. It’s no good,” he said.
“It reflects badly on us as a nation. Some people are scaring, angering the people through their fake news. Please stop. Enough with politics in the meantime,” he added, speaking in Filipino.
While Lorenzana said he would have wanted to get injected with CoronaVac to boost confidence among DND personnel, age restrictions that go with the vaccine prevented him from doing so.
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