Palace asks public to take available COVID-19 vaccines

Published May 25, 2021, 3:05 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Malacañang is appealing to the public to get themselves inoculated with whatever COVID-19 vaccine brand is available because the doses from United States’ Pfizer-BioNTech, which survey showed Filipinos preferred, are not enough.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in his online media briefing on Tuesday, May 25, that they understand the Filipinos preference for Pfizer because history shows Filipinos’ admiration of “stateside.”

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Pero ang mensahe lang po natin, bagama’t mayroon na tayong kakaunting mga stateside na mga bakuna, hindi po iyan sapat para sa lahat. Kaya nga po ang panawagan namin eh meanwhile nandiyan na po iyong mas nakakahawa at mas nakakamatay na mga new variants (Our message is although we have less stateside vaccines, it is not enough for everyone. That’s why it is our appeal, meanwhile, there are more transmissible and deadly new variants),” he added.

The latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that 39 percent of Filipinos prefer China’s Sinovac while 33 percent prefer US-made Pfizer-BioNTech. The United Kingdom’s Oxford-AstraZeneca fared at 22 percent while the US’ Johnson & Johnson is at fourth at 10 percent followed by the US’ Moderna at 7 percent. Other vaccine brands such as CureVac, Sinopharm, Novavax, Sanofi-GSK, and Gamaleya fall below 5 percent.


Roque said that although Filipinos have a preference for a specific brand, they should prioritize their lives, as well as the lives of their families and the community.

Last week, Filipinos criticized President Duterte for castigating the people’s choice of US-made vaccine. He said that other vaccines are just as effective although he himself chose China-made Sinopharm, which only has a compassionate use permit from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

The spokesperson said they are confident that Filipinos now want to be inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of the brand. Otherwise, he added, the government won’t be able to inoculate a total of 4.3 million (first-dose and second-dose recipients) Filipinos.

“So ang tingin ko, karamihan naman ng Pilipino ay nais bigyan ng proteksiyon ang sarili nila at ang pamilya nila at kukunin talaga kung ano iyong bakunang naririyan na. (So I think that most Filipinos want to protect themselves and their families and they will get what vaccine is there),” Roque said.

Last May 10, 193,000 Pfizer doses arrived in the Philippines from vaccine-sharing facility COVAX, which was co-chaired by the World Health Organization (WHO).


Some of the Metro Manila cities to receive a share of the doses are Makati, Muntinlupa San Juan, and Pasay, among others.

There have been some reports, however, of the Pfizer doses being sold by as much as P15,000 while some local mayors are using the doses, which has a 95 percent efficacy rate, the highest among all available vaccines in the market, to buy favors from barangay captains.