De Lima scores DOH for allowing mixed-use of vaccines after Duterte 'tantrum'

Published May 8, 2021, 10:21 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Leila de Lima on Saturday, May 8, hit the Department of Health (DOH) for allowing persons to receive different brands of COVID-19 vaccines after President Duterte ordered the recall of Sinopharm vaccines donated by China.

Senator Leila de Lima (Senate of the Philippines)

“Permitting mixed-use vaccinations to address supply bottlenecks can be debated. Doing it because one’s boss threw another public tantrum after being rightfully chastised for taking an unauthorized vaccine, however, is beyond idiotic,” the detained senator said in her dispatch.

“It seems that the DOH is now crafting guidelines for mixed-use vaccinations. Meaning to say that it may be possible in the future for a person to be inoculated with different brands of the COVID-19 vaccine for their 1st and 2nd doses. Was this based on empirical evidence? Or supply considerations? Absolutely not,” she added

The DOH earlier said it has started drafting guidelines for the administration of different brands of vaccines in the inoculations, following the pull out of 1,000 doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine, which was injected to Duterte last Monday, May 3.

The President was criticized since Sinopharm has yet to secure an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

De Lima expressed concern over the DOH’s plan to allow the use of different vaccines.

“Vaccine mixing trials are underway in several countries but no data has been published on its safety and efficacy. But the DOH, under the Duterte administration, has never been one to put science first,” she said.

“Credit them for their consistency. By that I mean consistently caving in to the whims and demands of the once-a-week President. They need to be reminded that their mandate is to promote and safeguard public health and not protect Duterte’s ‘feelings’,” she added.

“If Duterte wishes to withdraw the Sinopharm vaccine and experiment with a different second dose, then by all means let him. Why is there a need to impose this as a national policy?” De Lima further said.

The opposition senator said the people should not be experimented “only to justify Duterte’s use of smuggled vaccines”.