Lorenzana links ‘demonization’ of China’s Sinovac to politics

Published March 3, 2021, 2:43 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Some people or groups are demonizing the China-made Sinovac vaccines for their own political agenda, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

Specifically, Lorenzana has said that government detractors are trying to discredit the efforts of the government after it used China’s vaccine donations from Sinovac Biotech Ltd. in the country’s vaccine rollout last Monday after more than 600,000 doses of vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) arrived on February 28.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

“May nagsasabi na ‘we deserve the best.’ Ang pagkaintindi ko, parang hindi maganda ang Sinovac. I believe there are forces trying to demonize the Sinovac, any vaccine coming from China (There are those saying ‘we deserve the best.’ From what I understand, [they think] that Sinovac is not a good [vaccine.] I believe there are forces trying to demonize the Sinovac, any vaccine coming from China),” he told reporters Tuesday.

But Lorenzana did not name the individuals or groups who are supposedly demonizing the Chinese vaccines.

However, no less than vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. confirmed that “many” people, especially medical frontliners, are still hesitant to get the jab using the Sinovac vaccine since the “mistrust” on the Chinese vaccine remains high.

Galvez, on the other hand, bared that many nations are slowly embracing the use of Chinese vaccines especially since there is a global shortage on the supply of Western vaccines.

The national government has also been consistent in urging the public to get vaccinated so they can get an added layer of protection against the coronavirus. For his part, Lorenzana urged the public to refrain from spreading rumors about the Sinovac vaccine so they would not be discourgaed to be inoculated.

He also cited the military’s support to the government’s vaccination drive, with Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, taking the lead in encouraging all soldiers to get vaccinated.

“Wala namang sundalo na nagsabing ayaw nila ng Sinovac (No soldier said that they don’t want Sinovac),” Lorenzana claimed.

“Pinangunahan ng Chief of Staff na dapat lahat tayo mabakunahan. Kung ayaw ng bakuna, okay lang. It is not mandatory na ipipilit mo ang brand ng bakuna. Other brands pwede naman (The Chief of Staff urged them to get vaccinated. If they don’t want the vaccine, it’s okay. It is not mandatory and we won’t push that brand [Sinovac] to them. Other brands can be used),” he said.

Citing the results of clinical trials in other countries, the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that Sinovac vaccine is recommended for people aged between 18 to 59 years old only.

The FDA said it is not advisable for use of senior citizens and medical frontliners who directly come in contact with people who have COVID-19 due to its varrying efficacy rate.

Separate researches in Indonesia and Turkey showed that Sinovac vaccine is 65 percent and 91.25 percent effective, respectively. Another study in Brazil found out that Sinovac is 50.4 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infections.