MALACAÑANG admitted that the order for local governments to refrain from announcing which COVID-19 vaccine brands are used at inoculation sites is something that President Rodrigo Duterte himself issued – and not the Department of Interior Local Government (DILG), which made the announcement.
“Unang-una, si Presidente po ang nag-utos n’yan dahil nakita po niya iyong kawalan ng social distancing doon sa ilang lugar kung saan in-announce ang pagbabakuna ng Pfizer,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Citing the President, Roque said that the public should not be choosing which vaccine brand they would like to receive, even though Duterte himself had chosen China’s Sinopharm brand for his own vaccination.
The public went to social media where they poured in disappointment over the idea of the government withholding names of vaccine brands to be used at specific sites. The announcement, which was first made by Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, has spawned concern that it would violate the medical principle of informed consent, in which health workers educate patients on the risks, benefits and alternatives of a procedure, treatment or drug.
Some also fear that the policy would further erode public trust in the jabs.
“Ang informed consent po ay sinasabi o sasabihan ang ating mga mamamayan na dumaan po sa proseso ang lahat ng bakuna na ibinibigay sa ating mga kababayan,” said Roque.
Interestingly, Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos said that the National Capital Region (NCR) mayors are weighing things over to determine whether or not the doctors could tell the public which vaccine brand they would take during screening, the first step of the inoculation process.
Abalos added that the “lack of physical distancing indeed happens when people learn that Pfizer is available at a certain site. This shows that more people are willing to get vaccinated with the brand compared to others.”
“I share this with all Metro Manila mayors. Nakita naman po naman talaga namin ito, kung kaya may basehan naman po ang sinasabi ng ating Pangulo na hangga’t maaari ay huwag na lang pong sabihin,” Abalos said in the same briefing.
The Philippines has been working on securing supply deals from seven vaccine brands.
“Ang pinakaligtas na bakuna ay ang bakunang nasa inyong braso, anumang brand po ‘yan dahil lahat naman po ‘yan ay dumaan sa masusing pag-aaral at lahat po ‘yan napatunayang ligtas at epektibo,” he added.