Davao City mayor tells national gov't to buy Pfizer, Moderna over Chinese-made vaccines
MANILA — Malacañang said on Tuesday Western-made COVID-19 vaccines continue to arrive "in trickles", in response to a mayor's concern over the supposed low acceptability of Chinese jabs that make up the bulk of the Philippine supply.
"On behalf of IATF, sino bang ayaw ng Western brand? Ang problema lang, talagang hindi natin nakukuha ang supply," said Palace and IATF spokesman Harry Roque.
"We ordered 40 million. Pero nakikita n’yo naman, they come in trickles," he said in a press briefing.
(Who doesn't want a Western brand? The only problem is, we are not getting the supply... You see that they come in trickles.)
The vaccine developed by Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech make up about half of the Philippines' COVID-19 shots.
Sinovac jabs and the COVID-19 vaccine by Chinese state firm Sinopharm have secured emergency listing by the World Health Organization, which means they are safe and effective, said Dr. Edsel Salvaña, a member of the group that advises government on COVID-19.
"Any vaccine is better than no vaccine," added molecular biologist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco.
There is "no promise" that one will receive Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, especially now that their manufacturer, the US, could soon approve booster shots, he said.
"We do not know how that will impact the worldwide supply of Pfizer and Moderna," said Austriaco, a member of independent research group OCTA.
Video courtesy of PTV
Their comments follow Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's appeal for the national government to halt the purchase and delivery of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines to her area.
"When we roll out Moderna or Pfizer, daghan ang mga nagapabakuna. But when we roll out Sinovac or Sinopharm, wala'y interest or low ang acceptability sa mga tao," she said in her weekly interview over Davao City Disaster Radio.
(When we roll out Moderna or Pfizer, a lot of people are willing to be vaccinated. But when we roll out Sinovac or Sinopharm, there is no interest or low acceptability among people.)
She said the Davao City COVID-19 Task Force's vaccine cluster passed a resolution on Monday, informing the national coronavirus task of the situation.
"Stop buying and stop sending Sinopharm and Sinovac to vaccination sites. Instead, focus on buying Pfizer and Moderna since there is high interest in these vaccines," she urged the national government.
But the mayor told Davaoeños to refrain from choosing specific brands, saying all vaccines are effective against COVID-19.
She said she was inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine, which is the same brand that her father President Rodrigo Duterte received.
The Philippines, which is fighting one of Asia's worst coronavirus outbreaks, has confirmed some 2.3 million coronavirus infections, including about 36,000 deaths overall.
The government aims to vaccinate up to 70 percent of the country's 109 million people before the year ends to achieve herd immunity and safely reopen the economy.
At least 18.8 million people have been fully inoculated so far.
— With a report from Hernel Tocmo