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Sinovac is the best vaccine, only one we have now –PGH director

University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi on Monday said Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine is the “best vaccine” as this is the only one the country has now.

According to Sandra Aguinaldo's report on "24 Oras" on Monday, Legaspi became the country’s first official recipient of a COVID-19 vaccine.

He received a shot of CoronaVac, manufactured by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, during a symbolic vaccination ceremony at the UP-PGH grounds attended by top government officials. The vaccine was administered by Nurse Chareluck Santos.

“Wala akong naramdaman sa pagturok. Wala rin akong naramdaman sa paglagay ng vaccine sa loob ng muscle. What I’m feeling is elation and happiness na we’re able to pullout successfully the ceremonial vaccination of our healthcare workers in PGH,” Legaspi said.

“Siguro ‘yong iba makumbinsi rin na ang pagbabakuna, labas sa mga ibang mga considerations. This is the best vaccine because it’s the only one we have now,” he added.

Several government officials, including vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Food and Drug Administration chief Eric Domingo, and testing czar Secretary Vince Dizon also received the Sinovac shot.

Meanwhile, Legaspi said most of the PGH employees prefer the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca.

On Sunday, President Rodrigo Duterte said health workers who do not want to take the Sinovac’s vaccine should wait for a few days to get inoculated.

“Mayroong dadating. They have a choice. It’s either AstraZeneca or the Sinovac. Kung ayaw nila ng Sinovac, maghintay sila in a few days. Basta I was assured it will be coming within the next few days,” Duterte said in a press conference.

“For those who do not want to be vaccinated, okay lang sa akin. Wala akong problema. Ayaw ninyo magpabakuna, okay, that’s your choice,” he added.

Earlier, PGH doctors said Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine should undergo further appraisal before being administered to healthcare workers.

According to the PGH Physicians Association, the appraisal should be done by the Health Technology Assessment Council, an advisory body to the Health Department and PhilHealth, to facilitate informed decision-making.

Although the Chinese vaccine was granted emergency use authorization by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration, it was not recommended for healthcare workers due to its lower efficacy rate of 50.4 percent for the group.

Despite this, the Department of Health said the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group agreed to recommend Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine for health workers. — Ma. Angelica Garcia/DVM, GMA News