Senators express dismay over Roque’s vaccine remark

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 13, 2021   •   251

MANILA, Philippines — Several Senators have expressed dismay over Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s remark on why Filipinos should not be picky with the COVID-19 vaccine brand they will receive.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, in a statement, said it is not fair for Filipinos to not be able to choose their vaccines made available by the government. Lacson added he would not pick a vaccine with 50% against other brands with 79% efficacy.

“Instead of building people’s confidence by starting with a higher efficacy vaccine and accomplish its intended purpose, to tell them they can’t be choosy is definitely not a smart information campaign to promote mass inoculation,” he said.

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan also said the Palace should stop with the remarks since it can only lessen the trust of Filipinos on vaccines

Itong mga bitiw na salita ng spokesperson tungkol sa bakuna sa totoo lang ay nakakadagdag sa kawalan ng tiwala sa bakuna ng taumbayan. Hindi nakakatulong (The spokesperson’s words about the vaccine only adds to the distrust on vaccines. It is not helping),” Pangilinan said.

In a press briefing on Monday (January 11), Roque said the public should not be ‘choosy’ with the COVID-19 vaccines they would receive from the government.

Totoo po, mayroon tayong lahat na karapatan para sa mabuting kalusugan pero hindi naman po pwede na pihikan dahil napakaraming Pilipino na dapat turukan (It is true that we have the right for better health but we cannot be picky because a lot of Filipinos need to be vaccinated),” Roque said.

Senator Grace Poe reiterated that it is the Filipinos’ right to choose which vaccine brand they want to receive.

“The Filipino people have every right to choose which vaccine to take, it is their money the government is spending to procure the precious doses,” she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 testing Czar Vince Dizon said the government is not favoring a specific country for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

Wala po tayong policy na pinapaboran ang isang vaccine o isang bansa. Lahat po ng vaccines na safe and effective ay ipu-pursue ng national government, vaccine czar, at vaccine cluster (There is no policy that favors a vaccine or country. All safe and effective vaccines are being pusued by the national government, vaccine czar, and vaccine cluster),” he said. -AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)


Pasay City mayor open to possible city-wide ECQ to curb rising COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano on Thursday said she will not object should the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) decide to place the entire city under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

In an online media briefing, Rubiano said the city government is doing its best to contain the surge in COVID-19 cases.

She added that they have already looked into the idea of placing the city under ECQ upon learning of the detection of the more contagious COVID-19 variant, initially reported in South Africa in Pasay.

Rubiano, however, noted that placing Pasay City under ECQ will have an impact on the entire National Capital Region since the city is considered as a travel hub.

“Ang impact kasi ay nasa entire NCR dahil nakita niyo po at siyempre sa country na rin dahil nandidito po sa amin ang airport, MRT, LRT,” she said.

“Travel hub po kami at yung domestic air travel will be cancelled while international travel will be restricted,” she added.

Meanwhile, Rubiano confirmed that four residents of Pasay have tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant but all of them have already recovered.

The mayor also said that the patients were under quarantine when results of their tests came out.

“Yes po, recovered na pero inuulit po namin ang kanilang swab nang makasigurado po tayo. Na-isolate po namin agad sila pati po na-contact trace,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

AstraZeneca vaccine arrives in PH

UNTV News   •   March 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The initial batch of COVID-19 vaccine developed by British-Swede drug maker AstraZeneca has arrived in the Philippines.

The plane carrying 487,200 doses of COVID-19 vaccines landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at past 7 p.m.

The first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines is part of the first round of allocated doses from the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility.

Some 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines were supposed to arrive in the country on March 1 but encountered delay allegedly due to supply problems.

The Philippines is expected to receive at least 5.6 million shots of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca via the COVAX Facility within the first quarter of 2021.

FDA still awaits Phase 3 trial report from Synopharm to determine vaccine’s efficacy on elderly

Marje Pelayo   •   March 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that the Chinese pharma Sinopharm has applied for emergency use authorization (EUA) online.

But the agency said the firm submitted only a few documents accompanying its application.

FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said Sinopharm needs to complete all necessary documents in order for the application to proceed.

With only a little information it received from the China-based company, the FDA cannot tell if the Sinopharm vaccine can be given to senior citizens including President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Hindi pa masabi sa ngayon. Wala pang binibigay na datos. Wala pa rin po kasing published Phase 3 trial results itong Sinopharm,” Domingo said.

“Until we see scientific evidence at makita kanino ginamit ang kanilang clinical trial at tsaka kanilang experience sa paggamit sa ibang mga bansa, doon pa lang makakapagbigay recommendation kanino pwede bakuna ang bakuna na ito,” he added. –MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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