Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. believes that making public the vaccination of President Duterte against COVID-19 will raise the people’s trust on the government’s immunization program.
“That’s good if it will happen. We all know that the President has a 91-percent popularity based on the surveys. We are expecting that the public uptake on the vaccines will increase,” said Galvez in a Laging Handa press briefing Wednesday when asked what will be the effect if the government makes public Duterte’s vaccination.
In previous televised meetings, Duterte has expressed willingness to be inoculated by vaccines from China and Russia. The government is already in final stages of negotiation to procure millions of doses of China’s Sinovac and Russia’s Gamaleya vaccines.
“The President has said before that he is willing to be vaccinated by whatever brand of vaccine that will come first. Even if Gamaleya or Sinovac will be the first to arrive, he will be the first to volunteer to get those shots,” Galvez said.
“All these COVID-19 vaccines have the same effects but some of them have benefits to the elderly and those with complications. Whatever will be the recommendation of the President’s doctor, him being a senior citizen, we will obey it,” he added.
Meanwhile, Galvez appealed to the public to stop the “discrimination” against some vaccine brands, particularly Sinovac, since he emphasized that the government will not get a vaccine that is not safe and effective for the Filipinos.
“Let us stop the discrimination among vaccine brands. We all know that they are already being used in Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, and Argentina. Why won’t we use them? These are advance countries than us,” he said.
The said countries, according to Galvez, has already procured millions of doses of Sinovac. He said this was one of the reasons why the government also purchased them.
According to a Social Weather Station (SWS) survey released in November 2020, around 66 percent of adult Filipinos expressed willingness to get a vaccine shot against COVID-19 if it was made available at that time. About 31 percent were unwilling to be vaccinated.
Some sectors were criticizing the government for supposedly prioritizing Sinovac, reportedly with a lower efficacy rate than other vaccines.
In a Phase 3 clinical trial in Brazil, researchers said that Sinovac yielded a 50.4 efficacy rate of preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections.
Earlier this week, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque was slammed for saying that Filipinos should not be picky with the brand of vaccines that the government will provide for free.
To increase public support, Galvez encouraged the local government units to start a massive information campaign to educate the masses on the government’s vaccination program.