Recto: Don’t demonize China-made COVID-19 vaccines

Published February 11, 2021, 9:47 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Thursday called on the public not to judge novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines based on where they came from — especially if these are tagged “Made in China”.

Senator Ralph Recto (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We should not demonize a vaccine because of its country of origin. Let science be the guide, not superstition,” Recto said.

“If our scientists from UP (Universtity of the Philippines) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) will say after thorough evaluation that it is good, then who are we to doubt their findings? Science is the light that will lead us out of pandemic darkness,” he pointed out.

The Senate official was particularly commenting on the announcement that a shipment of  600,000 doses of CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, is scheduled to arrive in the Philippines on February 23.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the government of China donated 100,000 more shots of the vaccine for the Philippines’ defense department, raising the total number of incoming vaccine supply to 600,000.

The FDA has yet to issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for CoronaVac. So far, EUAs have been issued to Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca.

Recto said: “Knee-jerk reaction against anything ‘Made in China’ does not help in the fight against COVID-19. And any doubt on any vaccine in particular fuels vaccine hesitancy in general.”

The Philippines’ territorial dispute with China, he noted, should not be linked to the vaccines.

“That they have occupied some of our territories is another issue. We can contest one issue and cooperate on others,” he said.

“At kung bigay ang mga bakunang iyan (And if those vaccines are donated), we should say ‘Kung Hei Fat Choi and Maraming Salamat Po (Thank You Very Much)!’” Recto added.