The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) on Monday, March 1, expressed disappointment at the government’s decision to allowing the vaccination of healthcare workers with China’s Sinovac coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.
“We are dismayed at the sudden turn around decision of the government to inoculate health workers with Sinovac, sacrificing the health and safety of the health workers,” said AHW President Robert Mendoza in a statement.
“The government should not pass on to us the burden of public trust on vaccination, because it’s the government’s responsibility to the people to give the best vaccine and ensure the safety and efficacy and it should be consistent and transparent to the people,” he added.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Sinovac vaccines last Feb. 22, but it was not recommending the use of the China-made vaccine to medical frontliners who were attending to COVID-19 patients due to its low efficacy rate of 50.4 percent.
However, the National Immunization Technical Advisory (NITAG) has recommended the use of Sinovac vaccines for healthcare workers, citing its safety and efficacy to reduce mortality.
“Due to the ever-changing government’s pronouncements, we health workers doubted of what is behind the government’s insistence for the Sinovac vaccine. There are better options for vaccine that have the highest efficacy rate. Why the donation CoronaVac with a low efficacy rate is being forced by the government to be vaccinated to us health workers and the people?,” he added.
The group stood firm “on their demand for a free, safest and most efficacious COVID-19 vaccine for all because they believe that health workers’ and people’s lives matter most.”
“Many from our ranks have been infected and some died in combating the deadly virus. Our health and lives are always at stake, it is just right and humane that we demand the free, safest and most efficacious vaccine,” said Eleazar Sobinsky, president of the Lung Center of the Philippines Employees Association- Alliance of Health Workers (LCPEA-AHW).
“As we go along with the entire vaccination program, we demand for a free treatment and hospitalization for immunized health workers experiencing adverse side effects, that we should also receive our compensation while undergoing treatment or hospitalization,” he said.
Sobinsky called on the government to indemnify health workers who suffer severe side effects or worse, death due to COVID vaccines amounting to not less than P1 million.
“Lastly, we want the government and health authorities to be held accountable in indemnifying victims of severe effect of the vaccine.”