Sara Duterte to IATF: Buy more Western COVID jabs
DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — The city government here has informed the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) about the low acceptability of Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines from China, hoping to persuade the national body to consider purchasing more of the Western vaccine brands instead of those produced by Chinese pharmaceutical companies.
“We come up with the resolution [informing the IATF] because this has become a huge challenge in vaccination rollout,” Mayor Sara Duterte said during her special hour over the city government-run Davao City Disaster Radio on Monday.
“We have a moral responsibility to let the IATF know what is happening on the ground,” she added.
She said the national government needed to look at what could be done to address the situation, whether it would be better to buy more Western-made vaccines.
“If possible, we shift our purchases to Moderna and Pfizer [vaccines] because this will help in the rollout of the vaccination program,” the mayor said.
Duterte on Monday said the city government came up with the resolution informing the IATF of the low acceptability of the vaccines from China, referring to the Sinopharm vaccines, a product of China National Pharmaceutical Group; and CoronaVac, a product of the Chinese private company Sinovac Biotech Ltd., because it had been affecting the vaccine rollout in the city.
Western vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna often draw more people to the vaccination sites than when the China brands were being offered, she noted.
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But she continued to urge the public not to be choosy about vaccine brands and have themselves be inoculated since vaccines could protect them against death and severe disease.
Of the 73 COVID-19 deaths recorded in the city from Sept. 12 to Sept. 18, a total of 64 or 87 percent, were unvaccinated, she said. There were nine deaths involving vaccinated persons, four of whom were fully inoculated while five had the first dose.
“What is this telling us?” the mayor asked. “It’s telling us that majority of those who died did not have the protection of the vaccines. It also tells us that it doesn’t matter which brand of vaccines you choose,” she added.
Aside from adding more vaccination sites, the city government plans to carry out vaccination rollouts in the evening. The mayor said the city had identified two sites for this purpose. Schedules for these sites will be included in the online vaccination scheduler where those who want to get inoculated may apply.
Some overseas Filipino workers had earlier secured the assistance of the city government to get vaccinated with Western brands as their employers would not allow them to return to work if they were vaccinated with other types of vaccines.
This prompted the city government to come up with an express lane solely for overseas Filipino workers and their relatives, which started the rollout last week.