Filipinos should accept whatever brand of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine that the government will provide in light of the supply shortage felt around the world, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Friday, Feb. 19.
This, as Galvez recalled Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s controversial remark last month that the public can’t afford to be “choosy” when it comes to the vaccine.
“Tama si Secretary Roque na dapat kahit ano ang unang vaccine na darating sa atin, kunin na natin (Secretary Roque is right all along that whatever vaccine that comes first, we should grab it),” he said during the visit of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team in the municipality of Pateros.
The chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 once again assured the public that the vaccines purchased by the government were “safe and effective”.
“Ang pinakaimportante po, 100 percent na tayo ay ma-save from severe hospitalization (What’s important here is that we are 100 percent saved from severe hospitalization),” Galvez said.
His remarks were backdropped by the delay in the arrival of the first batch of local vaccine supply through the Covax facility, which was initially expected in mid-February.
Last January 11, Roque said that Filipinos can’t afford to be picky on what vaccine to get since the government, at the time, did not know what brand would arrive first. He said the mass vaccination is free anyway.
Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines have secured an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“In our vaccination plan, we have expected deliveries this February and March. We are still negotiating with them,” Galvez said.