Quezon City – Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for promoting China-made vaccines by claiming that such are as good as those made by other countries even as researches show that the Sinovac vaccines are only 50% effective and have numerous side effects.
“Duterte should stop acting like a medical representative of China-made vaccines. In this time of pandemic, the government should prioritize public interest and set aside personal preferences. The public is questioning how the government wasted our limited resources when it procured 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac Biotech despite the fact that there are cheaper vaccines with higher efficacy rates,” said Salinlahi Secretary General Eule Rico Bonganay.
At the same time, Bonganay also pointed out that the vaccination program of the government must be participatory where Filipino people enjoy the right to be heard and to choose which product or brand they would use. “Duterte’s stubborn endorsement of Sinovac amid opposition of medical experts and the lack of stakeholders’ consultations raises doubts on the government’s vaccine procurement. The Dengvaxia fiasco was a hard lesson that the government should have learned. The government cannot just impose vaccination programs and other health interventions without consulting the target groups, especially when such involve a large portion of the population,” Bonganay added.
With just barely a month before the supposed arrival of first batch of vaccines against COVID-19, the Salinlahi supported the demands that the Department of Health (DOH) boost its information and communication campaign in order to urgently educate the public about the importance of vaccination and to address the lack of confidence of the public in vaccines as result of the Dengvaxia fiasco.
“Aside from the need to ensure that there are enough vaccines particularly for the priority groups, the government should take serious steps in increasing the public awareness about COVID-19 vaccines and help them make informed decision. The DOH should take the lead in the information campaign in partnership with other government agencies as well as private institutions,” Bonganay emphasized.
Given the fact that a new strain of COVID-19 has already entered the country, Salinlahi urged the public to continue practicing minimum health standards while joining the campaign to demand the Duterte government to address the pandemic and its socio-economic implications. ###