Palace expects health workers to take ‘safe and beneficial’ Sinovac vaccines

Published February 26, 2021, 5:39 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang is confident that many of the country’s healthcare workers will get themselves inoculated with CoronaVac, the vaccine manufactured by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, to help boost the public’s confidence in the vaccine against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the recommendation of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and the Department of Health’s (DOH’s) Technical Advisory Group to allow the use of CoronaVac on healthcare workers despite the 50.4-percent efficacy rate.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (RESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

In his statement, Roque said the Palace welcomes the recommendation of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to use CoronaVac on the country’s medical frontliners.

“As we have said on many occasions, healthcare workers are the most critical frontliners in our fight against COVID-19 and they remain at the top of our priority list for vaccination,” he said Friday.

“The IATF’s approval… is an assurance that the use of Sinovac is safe and beneficial to our healthcare workers,” he added.

According to Roque, Malacañang is confident that many healthcare workers would want to avail themselves of the free Chinese vaccine, saying they know this would help encourage people to be vaccinated.

“We are confident that many of our healthcare workers would get themselves inoculated to boost public confidence in our mass vaccination program against the coronavirus,” he said.

The first batch of the Sinovac vaccines is expected to arrive in Manila on Sunday, Feb. 28. President Duterte is also set to grace the arrival of 600,000 doses donated by the Chinese government.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the emergency use authorization (EUA) of Sinovac vaccines but initially only for healthy individuals between 18 and 59 years old, not covering healthcare workers.

Roque said President Duterte was “perplexed” about this condition raised by the FDA, prompting the NITAG and the DOH to go over the information surrounding the vaccine.