Pfizer or Sinovac

Published January 21, 2021, 12:17 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza


Jullie Y. Daza

Who wants to be injected with the Pfizer vaccine?

The President wants to know. We want to know which brand Mr. Duterte’s physicians will recommend for him, now that we’re learning a few things more about covid vaccines after 29 elderly patients died in Norway as a consequence of their Pfizer shots.

Pfizer called the deaths “not alarming and in line with expectations,” but Norwegian authorities brought down the “age group thought to be affected to 75 from 80,” reported Bloomberg. This means that persons 75 years old and older, especially if they are weak and show symptoms of serious ailments, should not be vaccinated. Among the Norwegian fatalities were 13 residents of nursing homes and some 85-year-olds. Pfizer is the only brand in use in Norway.

How ironic that the Pfizer-Norway incidents made headlines around the world just one day after the company “commits to give PH covid vaccine as quickly as possible” (front page, Manila Bulletin, Jan. 16, 2021). In the Philippines, Pfizer is the only vaccine with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) while Sinovac waits for permission to conduct trial runs.

Sinovac is a hotter topic between Malacañang and the Senate, and in media. For one, the chic, English-speaking general manager of China’s Sinovac, Helen Yang, had a busy day last Monday answering her interviewers on at least three different TV channels. She parried their questions on the price of the vaccine. (It’s P650 according to Harry Roque and P3,809.50 by Senator Frank Drilon’s calculations based on DOH figures.) As to why Sinovac’s efficacy rate in Brazil, 50.4 percent, is so far away from Turkey’s 91 percent, Ms. Yang said that’s because in Brazil the doses were administered to frontliners, a small group compared to the massive numbers in Turkey.

For your own good, believe the experts who say that the following shouldn’t be vaccinated: pregnant women, the frail and elderly, kids younger than 18, persons with serious ailments.

Then weigh this street-smart advice from a white-haired, nearly toothless “lola” who told a roaming reporter why she didn’t need a vaccine: “I’m old, I’ve only a few years left. I can wait  for my turn at the very end of the line.” ###