Leni says Duterte can help allay public fears on COVID vaccines

Published January 17, 2021, 1:40 PM

by Raymund Antonio

President Duterte can help allay public fears on coronavirus vaccines, Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday.


Speaking on her radio show, Robredo said Duterte can help boost Filipinos’ confidence on COVID-19 vaccines when he gets vaccinated in public.

“So it will be helpful if the person whom people look up to will show to them that there is nothing to worry about. I hope it is taken into consideration,” she said in response to Duterte’s recent remark he will be among the last to get a shot of the vaccine after the inoculation of frontliners and vulnerable sectors.

Duterte had said in August last year he was willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine first upon its arrival in the country.

Robredo cited the mass vaccinations in Indonesia where  President Joko Widodo received his first dose of the China-made Sinovac vaccine in public.

“It seems there is no controversy about it. It could mean they have effective communications plan. Maybe they were able to explain to their people why it is their decision (of choosing Sinovac),” she said.

In a survey, Filipinos indicated they are worried about the safety of the vaccine. On social media, memes about China-made products have also made rounds, further lowering the confidence about Sinovac.

Robredo attributed the controversy surrounding the choice of COVID-19 vaccine to the government’s failure to communicate properly to the public.

“Some of our government officials are coming up with statements that do not help. There is controversy because, whether true or not, it seems that we’re taking the side of a particular vaccine (when) the people acknowledge that there is a better one,” she said.

The opposition leader  disputed the country’s vaccination program is just being politicized.

“There are concerns that should be addressed. First is the low efficacy rate. Second is the reason why we are paying more for it compared to other countries. And third is why it (Sinovac) is being prioritized over others,” she said.