COVID-19 vaccines for economic frontliners must be safe, effective, free – fishers’ group

Published February 23, 2021, 12:46 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

The vaccines to be used for the inoculation of economic frontliners against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) must be safe, effective, and totally free of charge, a fisherfolk group said Tuesday, Feb. 23.


Fisher’s group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) welcomed the government’s prioritization of fishers, farmers, and other economic frontliners in the nationwide inoculation.

“While we welcome the prioritization of fishers and farmers on the government’s massive vaccination campaign, we assert that the vaccine be totally free, safe, and effective,” said Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya national chairperson.

He told the Manila Bulletin that the COVID-19 vaccine “must be developed by established pharmaceutical companies to ensure the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.”

On Monday, Feb. 22, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said transport workers, farmers, fishermen and other essential workers will likely be among the economic frontliners who will be given priority in the distribution of vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech.

The Sinovac vaccines already have an emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but were not recommended to be used by healthcare workers and senior citizens due to varying levels of efficacy. 

“The national government’s crucial and urgent responsibility is to ensure that a large number of the population are immunized from the virus disease to let the displaced workers get back to the wheels of production and go on with lives,” Hicap said.