Medical frontliners may choose to skip Sinovac

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HEALTHCARE workers may choose to skip on being inoculated with the China-made Sinovac COVID-19 doses without worrying about missing vaccine shots.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Saturday reiterated that healthcare workers are guaranteed to get vaccinated. It just so happened that the Sinovac-branded jabs will be arriving first, he added.

“Ang pagbabago po sa ating protocol, kung ayaw po ng healthcare worker ang Sinovac, pupuwede po siyang tumanggi at hindi mawawala ‘yung kanyang prayoridad kapag dumating na ang bakunang gusto niya. Walang sapilitan, walang mahuhuli sa pila, walang mawawala sa pila,” Roque told reporters.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the recommendation of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and the Department of Health’s Technical Advisory Group (DOH-TAG) to allot Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers.

“Sabi sa DOH briefing kahapon, ligtas ang bakuna ng Sinovac. Ito ay safe vaccine at mapapakinabangan or beneficial ito sa healthcare workers. Dagdag pa ng DOH, binibigyan ang healthcare workers ng pagkakataong pumili ng bakunang nais nila,” Roque said.

“Pero pang-healthcare workers lang po ‘yan, ha? Sa lahat po kinakailangan pa rin talaga kung ano po ang naririyan ay tatanggapin natin. Kung ayaw naman po ay wala talagang sapilitan,” Roque averred.

Sinovac, which requires two doses for each vaccine recipient, has been found to have an efficacy rate of 65 percent to 91 percent among clinically healthy individuals aged 18 to 59 years old, based on the findings of the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA has already granted emergency use authorization to Sinovac on Monday but did not recommend it for health workers, the top priority in the vaccination program, due to its lower efficacy rate of 50.4 percent in the said group.

The donation of China of 600,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines will arrive at 5 p.m. on Sunday afternoon in the country. Of this number, 100,000 doses were reserved for the Armed Forces of the Philippines tapped to secure the transport of COVID-19 vaccines to health care facilities.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to welcome the arrival of the vaccines, together with other officials, at the Villamor Airbase.

“Excited na kami dahil bukas dadating na po ang bakuna,” Roque said.

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