Iligan lone district Rep. Frederick Siao said that the decision on which COVID-19 vaccine would be used for Filipinos should be made by doctors and scientists.
“Which vaccine to approve and choose for Filipinos is primarily a medical and scientific matter. We therefore want the decision on this to be made by the doctors and scientists with the relevant expertise on vaccines,” the congressman said in a statement.
Siao, an administration ally, also reckoned that the decision “has a cost or financial aspect,” meaning the opinion of financial experts on “value for money” would also matter.
“There are no military decisions to be made here. None as regards to choosing which vaccine is best for Filipinos,” he said.
A month ago, retired Philippine Army general Carlito Galvez Jr. was appointed by the President as “vaccine czar.”
Galvez has been serving as the Chief Implementer of the Philippines’ Declared National Policy Against COVID-19 since March this year.
In the same statement, Siao posed various questions as to when and how vaccinations in the Philippines would take place.
“Britain on Wednesday became the first Western country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine for general use as it announced a rollout of Pfizer-BioNTech’s drug from next week. There are reports the US could start vaccinations by December 11 or 13. What now of the Philippines which opted to join the WHO Solidarity Trials?” he asked.
“Will the UK, US vaccines also be available to us here in the Philippines either for free or commercially? Will our government choose other vaccines, not the UK, US ones, to be given free to Filipinos? Will our government allow commercial availability of the UK, US vaccines for Filipinos who want to choose the kind of vaccine they will get on a value for money basis?” added Siao.
The Midnanaoan solon did acknowledge the importance of security forces in handling the vaccine.
“Logistics transport would need the involvement of the military. Securing the vaccines against robbers and thieves would be the role of the police,” he said.