Galvez: Vaccinating Duterte in public will ease vaccine fears among Filipinos

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2021 12:17 AM | Updated as of Jan 14 2021 03:47 AM

Vaccinating President Rodrigo Duterte (right) in public view would help the public’s view of COVID-19 vaccines, Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez (left) said.

MANILA - Vaccinating President Rodrigo Duterte in public would help increase Filipinos' acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines, a government official said Wednesday.

“Maganda po iyon. Alam natin na ang ating mahal na Presidente, 91 percent ang kaniyang tinatawag na popularity survey at iyon nga rin po ang nakikita namin na iyong public uptake po ng ating publiko sa vaccine ay tataas po,” vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez said in a public briefing.

Galvez made the statement amid a survey result showing that nearly half of Filipinos are hesitant about taking COVID-19 vaccine shots, despite assurances from the government that it will only allow safe and effective vaccines to be used in the Philippines.

The official said that the President is willing to be among the first Filipinos to take the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available in the country.

“Si Presidente, sinasabi nga po niya na kahit na ano pong vaccine ang mauna, willing siya. Even iyong Gamaleya at saka Sinovac ay magbo-volunteer po siya na siya ang mauunang ma-vaccinate,” Galvez said.

He however is not likely to recommend a particular vaccine brand to be used by the President, deferring instead to the advise of Duterte’s doctors.

“So kung ano po ang i-recommend ng doktor ni Presidente na maganda po sa kaniya being a senior citizen, iyon po ang gagawin po natin,” he said.

He also called on the public not to discriminate on the brands of COVID-19 vaccines amid reports that some are not as effective as others.

“Tanggalin na po natin iyong discrimination sa ibang vaccine kasi nakita po natin ginamit na nga ng Singapore, ginamit na nga ng Malaysia, ginamit na ng Turkey at ng Argentina, bakit hindi natin gamitin? Eh mga advance country pa ito kaysa sa atin,” he said.

Galvez defended China's Sinovac Biotech after news reports on its vaccine, CoronaVac, just showed 50.4 percent efficacy at preventing symptomatic infections in a Brazilian trial.

This rate is below results they announced last week showing 78 percent efficacy against "mild to severe" COVID-19 cases. 

"Hintayin po natin iyong official pronouncement ng ating vaccine experts panel," said Galvez.

"Iyon lang po ay mga pronouncement ng mga different news at ang ano po natin talaga, dapat scientifically proven," he added.

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