Daily Tribune (Philippines)
It’s Sinopharm for Duterte, Cabinet
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Atty. Salvador Panelo on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte and the members of the Cabinet will be vaccinated with Sinopharm in an effort to further boost public confidence in the efficacy and safety of the jabs against coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
In his daily online program “Counterpoint”, however, Panelo disclosed that Duterte advised him to choose AstraZeneca during a Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday.
The President’s word came on the eve of the arrival of 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vials from the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility on Thursday evening.
“During our meeting, the President said, ‘Sal you can get your vaccine with the arrival of AstraZeneca.’ I told him, it should be all of us and he replied, ‘if we will all do it at the same time, it should be Sinopharm’. So, you should see the President and all members of the Cabinet being vaccinated, at the same time,” Panelo said.
Panelo added that it does not matter to him what vaccine will be administered to him.
“Any vaccine is fine with me. It’s better to be vaccinated than having no protection at all, even if the efficacy is only 60 percent, 80 percent, or 90 percent. What is important is you have protection,” Panelo added.
He noted that based on the studies, an individual who is vaccinated against Covid-19 is assured of protection against a severe case of the virus.
Panelo said the public should not be afraid in getting the jabs, saying the campaign to eradicate the virus will depend on the success of the government’s vaccination program.
On the other hand, Panelo said that despite the delay in the arrival of the Covid vaccines, more Filipinos are now willing to be vaccinated.
“The delay is a blessing in disguise as it allowed us to inform the public, to educate them on the importance of being inoculated. Many are now willing to be vaccinated compared before,” according to Panelo.
Panelo added that it is important to ensure that the donated vaccines will not be wasted.
He added that the government is targeting to vaccinate at least 70 million Filipinos to achieve herd immunity against the virus.
Panelo called the government’s vaccination rollout a success as the increasing number of health workers who are being vaccinated with China-made CoronaVac vaccine proves.
“The opposition has been questioning the delay in the arrival of the vaccines. Now the vaccines are here. Vice President Leni Robredo said the government should ensure they follow the process. In the first place, our health experts will not allow the entry of these vaccines if they did not pass the rigid screening,” he noted.
Panelo said that aside from the original 600,000 doses of Sinovac, an additional 400,000 doses are expected to arrive as part of China’s commitment.
“This means at least one million doses were given for free by the People’s Republic of China.
He said that with the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccines from the Covax - facility, frontliners now have a choice.
“I don’t know why we need to choose. It’s the same, the very reason for the creation of the vaccine is precisely to neutralize the virus,” according to Panelo.