Bayan Muna solon chides Roque: Pinoys have right to be ‘choosy’ on COVID vaccines

 By Deighton Acuin


Filipinos have the right to choose with the coronavirus vaccines they want to receive since it is a matter of public safety, Bayan Muna Representative Ferdinand Gaite said Monday.

Gaite made the remark in response to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque as he said that Filipinos should not be “choosy” with the vaccine provided.

“Mr. Roque, if it is a matter of safety and effectivity, if it involves public money, then the people have the right to be ‘choosy,’” Gaite said.

“It’s your job and responsibility to the public to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective,” he added in Filipino. “It’s only right that they should be ‘choosy’ for their own safety.”

“What you said makes it seem it’s not the welfare of the public is not the primary concern [of government officials]. It seems they just want to get it over and done with. As long as it’s done, then come what may. It’s the same haphazard attitude that we have seen in their pandemic response since day one,” he went on.

However, Roque said those under the priority list must sign a waiver if they would have to wait for other available vaccine brands.

“There’s no option to choose because we can’t really control what will come. And this is for free,” Roque said, speaking partly in Filipino. “It’s true that we all have the right to good health. But we can’t be delicate about it because so many Filipinos have to be injected.”

There is a growing preference of Filipinos from getting injecting with western brands like Pfizer and Moderna, rather than vaccines produced from Chinese pharmaceuticals.

This thinking grew after it was revealed that the Sinovac vaccine — which comes from China — has an efficacy rate of 50 percent. This is way lower compared to other vaccines that carry an efficacy rating of around 90 percent.

But Roque dismissed those with this reference for having a “colonial mindset.” He added that vaccines from Pfizer could not be transferred to far areas since it required cold-chain facilities for retaining its effectivity.

In reply, Gaite said: “The Palace should not be dismissive of the public’s concern regarding their health and safety. It’s not too much to ask the government to make sure that the vaccine that will be used is safe and effective. Whether the vaccine that will be used to inoculate the public for free is bought or donated, the law mandates that it be certified safe and effective.”

“Pag-aralan nila at i-ulat ng tapat sa publiko ang impormasyong kailangan nilang malaman tungkol sa bakunang ituturok sa kanila. Kailangan nilang tiyakin iyan sa taumbayan para palakasin ang kanilang tiwala sa vaccination program ng pamahalaan,” he added.

“They should study and report truthfully the information they need to know about the vaccine they would be injected with. They need to assure the people so that strengthen their trust of the vaccination program of the government.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Philippine Daily Inquirer


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