Gatchalian volunteers to be inoculated with Sinovac vaccines
Robie de Guzman • March 2, 2021 • 337
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday said he has volunteered to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shot developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech in a bid to address vaccine hesitancy.
In a statement, Gatchalian said he is willing to be inoculated with Sinovac’s CoronaVac if allowed under the government’s prioritization framework for the nationwide immunization campaign.
“Alam ko may prioritization tayo ngayon. Kung hindi naman lalabag dito, I would volunteer to be vaccinated by Sinovac. This is to show to the public our support to the vaccination program,” Gatchalian said.
The senator said he sent word to vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. over the weekend of his willingness to participate in the national vaccination program.
This is also to disprove the notion that some politicians want to be vaccinated with the brand of their choice and with an efficacy rate higher than CoronaVac, he added.
“What’s more important to me is the seal of approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If it’s approved by the FDA, which went through tedious analysis prior to the grant of authorization for emergency use, I’m okay with it,” he said.
“I’m okay with any brand of anti-COVID-19 vaccine. I’m not brand conscious. I put my trust in the FDA,” he added.
The FDA earlier said that Sinovac’s CoronaVac is not recommended for healthcare workers frequently exposed to COVID-19 patients due to its low efficacy rate of 50.4%, based on trials conducted in Brazil.
The FDA, however, clarified that health workers can still choose to receive the vaccine as it only made a recommendation on which groups it is not suited for.
The Philippine government on Monday rolled out its immunization program after COVID-19 vaccines donated by China arrived in the Philippines on Sunday.
The Department of Health said that more than 700 frontline workers, and government officials received the vaccine on the first day of immunization.
Prior to Monday’s immunization drive, a survey conducted from January 26 to February 1, 2021 by the OCTA Research Group showed that only 19% of Filipinos are willing to have themselves vaccinated while 46% would not want to be inoculated and 35% are still undecided.
Gatchalian, however, expressed optimism that the figures will change in the coming days.
“Maraming hesitant dahil bago itong vaccine. Kaya importante dito ang confidence building na dapat pangunahan ng mga opisyal ng gobyerno, well-known personalities, at kahit mga elected officials kagaya ng ginawa ni Indonesian President Joko Widodo at Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam,” he said.
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Friday announced it will roll out the COVID-19 vaccination for its frontline workers this weekend.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said they are looking to inoculate a total of 1,250 immigration personnel starting this April 24 to 25.
Immigration personnel eligible for vaccination will receive government-procured Sinovac’s CoronaVac jab, which will be administered in two doses in an interval of 28 days.
A pre-screening will be conducted on the medical history of the officers to determine those who are eligible to receive the vaccine.
“We have scheduled vaccination of our eligible employees on a weekend so as not to hamper our daily operations,” Morente said.
Adhering to the priority list given by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the BI will start vaccinating employees who are senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.
“The continuous rise of COVID-19 cases accentuates the need to vaccinate our frontliners, especially those belonging in the most vulnerable group such as the seniors and persons with co-morbidities. We want to assure their safety from the threat of the deadly virus,” Morente shared.
BI Deputy Commissioner and Chairperson of the bureau’s COVID-19 Task Force Aldwin Alegre said that despite vaccine rollout among immigration officers, they will continue to implement basic health protocols such as wearing face masks and face shields, maintaining physical distancing, and checking body temperatures.
“Our frontliners are one of the most exposed and have a high risk of contracting the highly transmissible virus. As such, we will continue to make sure that all health protocols are being followed,” Alegre said.
“I am confident that as our officers get their jabs, we will be able to carry out our mandate better and with less worry,” he added.
The BI has so far recorded 300 COVID-19 infections among its personnel.
MANILA, Philippines – Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III received his first dose of a vaccine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Friday.
Duque was inoculated around 10 a.m. with CoronaVac dose made by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech. Health Undersecretary Geraldo Bayugo administered the vaccine.
Duque, 64, is a senior citizen that belongs to A2 category of the government’s COVID-19 priority list.
“As I receive my dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today, I invite everyone to do the same, and choose to be protected,” Duque was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the DOH.
“Let us all take part in protecting public health, and let us be in unison in spreading one message: that vaccines are safe, and vaccines are effective,” he added.
Duque also stressed that the government is doing everything it can to secure sufficient vaccine supply to cover 70 million Filipinos.
The DOH chief’s vaccination follows the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration to use CoronaVac on senior citizens amid a shortage of AstraZeneca vaccine supply, which is used to inoculate the elderly.
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