Malacañang said that it will launch an information campaign on the benefits of other COVID-19 vaccine brands to build public confidence on the government’s vaccination program.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement as the government faces accusations of favoring China’s Sinovac vaccine over what are supposed to be cheaper and more effective vaccine brands.
In his presser Thursday, Roque explained that his office will eventually discuss to the public the other COVID-19 vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna, among others.
“Well, in due course, ang plano namin dito sa press briefing (that is our plan for our press briefing), to build confidence,” he said.
“Lahat po iyang mga bakuna na iyan, as soon as they arrive, ay sasabihin po natin sa taumbayan kung anong datos. Kasama po iyan sa aming overall plan (All of those vaccines, as soon as they arrive, we will inform the public about them. That is part of our overall plan),” he added.
Armed with extensive research about the Chinese brand, Malacañang has been consistently telling the public about the developments of the Sinovac vaccine even though overseas tests show that other Western brands are cheaper and more effective than the Chinese brand.
In a radio interview last week, the public is free to wait for the vaccine of their choice but reminded them that a new and more contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus has already entered the country.
He said there is no reason for the public to doubt the Chinese vaccine since many items that people use every day are made in China.
Despite the public’s reservations about Sinovac, Malacañang is not concerned about the possibility of Filipinos opting out of the government’s vaccination program.
“Sa tingin ko po, itong ginagawa natin na pagpapaliwanag, bagama’t hinahaluan ng pulitika po ng mga kritiko ng administrasyon ay maiintindihan naman po ng taumbayan kung ano ang ginagawa ng gobyerno (I think that through this information campaign that we are doing, even though critics of the administration are politicizing it, people understand what the government is doing),” Roque said.
In his public address last week, President Duterte defended his preference for the Chinese vaccine but said the government will not force the public if they do not want it.
Duterte will be among the last people to be inoculated. On the other hand, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan have both received their first dose of Sinovac as they roll out their vaccination program.