Allow Filipinos to choose preferred brand to boost vaccine confidence – Recto

Published June 30, 2021, 1:44 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Wednesday, June 30, that the government should give wider vaccine choices for Filipinos as more anti-coronavirus shots of different brands are being made available to the Philippines.

A health worker administers a coronavirus vaccine to a Manila resident as inoculations of the A5 priority group in Baseco Compound begin on June 16, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Allowing them to choose which COVID-19 vaccine to receive could also help boost confidence in the government’s inoculation program, he raised.

“I support giving people choices. More people will want to be vaccinated. [That’s] Common sense,” Recto said in a text message sent to reporters.

“Make all brands available and make people choose,” he appealed.

His colleague, Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon has been urging authorities to veer away from procuring vaccines from Sinovac, which has been established to be less effective than other brands.

Drilon added that the China-made jabs are more expensive than vaccines with higher efficacy, specifically that of Pfizer-BioNtech.

“We are a fool to buy more expensive vaccines with doubtful efficacy,” he also said on Tuesday, June 29, calling for explanation on the matter.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., however, defended the government’s continued preference for Sinovac, saying experts have done “rigorous” review of every brand in the country’s supply portfolio.

Sinovac, he maintained, “is performing well and at par with Western-made vaccine brands”.