‘Fast break’ try on approval of China-made vaccines deserves second look — Sen. Hontiveros

Published January 25, 2021, 4:35 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday said the government should exercise caution if there are personalities who would attempt to secure a “fast break” approval of China-made COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The opposition senator said it is imperative that the national task force on COVID-19 would not rely on the “special relationship” the Philippine government has with China.
“Government should think twice if there are attempts to fastbreak or shortcut or bank on being supposed BFFs (best friends forever) or having a special relationship when it comes to accepting vaccines,” Hontiveros said in an online interview.
“For me, having multiple platforms are fine; we don’t need to limit one vaccine from one country or one pharmaceutical company. The more vaccines authorized by the FDA, the better,” she pointed out.
Hontiveros said the government should follow an independent foreign policy and not rely on any “special relationship with any other country, especially China.”
The senator noted how presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has repeatedly assured that the Chinese COVID-19 vaccines would be offered to the Philippines at a reasonable price or “presyong BFF.”
“Hindi na nga tayo pinapayagang mangisda sa sarili nating dagat, special relationship pa rin? Ganyan ba magturingan ang sinasabi nilang BFFs? (They are not allowing us to fish on our waters and yet they are still claiming a special relationship? Is that how BFFs treat each other?),” she pointed out.
But as far as she is concerned, Hontiveros said she will not object to having Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines being used in the government’s vaccination program as long as these are approved by the FDA after ensuring it is safe and effective.
“So no need to knock out any one or two candidates right now if they are allowed to be used as long as the FDA approves it and says it is okay to be used by Pinoys,” she said.