The Department of Health (DOH) took a swipe at former adviser to the government’s coronavirus task force Dr. Tony Leachon after he questioned the procurement of vaccines.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire maintained that all COVID-19 vaccines approved in the Philippines are effective against COVID-19.
“Wala pong basehan ang mga prinesent ni Dr. Leachon kagabi at sana po, gusto lang ho namin ipaliwanag sa ating mga kababayan, na sana hindi tayo nadadala ng mga ganitong ipinapakita or statements (There is no basis on the presentations of Dr. Leachon last night and hopefully, our citizens will not get swayed on such remarks),” said Vergeire in a public press briefing on Saturday, Aug. 28.
“Kailangan po tayong maniwala sa siyensya at mayroon ho tayong basehan ngayon at nakikita po natin na nagiging effective naman po itong bakunang ito para sa ating lahat (We have to believe in science and we have a basis now. We see that these vaccines are becoming effective for all of us),” she added.
During the Senate hearing on Friday, Aug. 27, Leachon said that only five vaccines are “effective” versus the more transmissible Delta coronavirus variant.
Leachon said that these vaccines are those made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Janssen, and Bharat Biotech.
“Fifty percent of our orders are from Sinovac, now what is the problem with this? There are only five vaccines that will be effective for the Delta variant. This is based on their efficacy rate,” he said.
“There are no published report for Sinovac and Sputnik. So ayun yung nakikita natin, are we ordering the right vaccines? considering that we are dealing with the Delta variant,” he added.
Vergeire said that Sinovac vaccines are effective in preventing the severe form of COVID-19.
“Just recently may lumabas po sa Lancet Publication, around 10,000 samples or individuals inoculated with Sinovac at nagpakita po ng 100 percent effectiveness against severe infections at iyon naman po talaga ang gusto natin, at nakikita natin din dito sa ating bansa na ang Sinovac is protecting our population (Just recently, a study was published in the Lancet Publication, wherein around 10,000 samples or individuals inoculated with Sinovac showed 100 percent effectiveness against severe infections—and that is exactly what we want. We also see here in our country that Sinovac is protecting our population),” she said.
In a statement, the DOH said that “COVID-19 vaccines are life-saving interventions that remain highly effective against COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant.”
“We would like to remind healthcare professionals to be more mindful of their statements to the public regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Amidst an ongoing pandemic, one irresponsible statement is a fine line between life or death,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in a statement.
“COVID-19 vaccines offer additional protection against COVID-19– vaccines save lives. I call on my fellow healthcare professionals to work together to increase vaccine confidence in the country,” he added.
This was also seconded by National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.
“All vaccines that we procured have the recommendation of our Vaccine Expert Panel. While different vaccine types have different efficacy rates against the Delta variant, all of them including Sinovac are working and effective based on real world data,” said Galvez.