Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has volunteered to receive a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by China's Sinovac Biotech to help address the high vaccine hesitancy in the country.
In a statement on Tuesday, Gatchalian said that he is willing to get a Sinovac's CoronaVac if allowed under the government's prioritization framework.
“Alam ko may prioritization tayo ngayon. Kung hindi naman lalabag dito, I would volunteer to be vaccinated by Sinovac. This is to show to the public our support to the vaccination program,” he said.
Gatchalian said he sent word to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. over the weekend on his willingness to get a Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.
He added that he wanted to get CoronaVac to dispel notions that politicians want vaccines with higher efficacy rates.
“What’s more important to me is the seal of approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If it’s approved by the FDA, which went through tedious analysis prior to the grant of authorization for emergency use, I’m okay with it," Gatchalian said.
"I’m okay with any brand of anti-COVID-19 vaccine. I’m not brand conscious. I put my trust in the FDA,” he added.
A total of 600,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the Philippines on Sunday, just about a week after the FDA granted it emergency use authorization.
FDA director general Dr. Eric Domingo said Sinovac’s efficacy ranged from 65.3% to 91.2% but only reached 50.4% among health workers with COVID-19 exposure.
This makes it not recommended for health workers, he added.
“This should be administered by vaccination providers and to prevent COVID-19 in clinically healthy individuals aged 18 to 59 years old,” Domingo had said.
However, Domingo clarified on Tuesday that health workers can still choose to get vaccinated with Sinovac since they merely made a recommendation on which groups it is not suited for.
Prior to the vaccination drive on Monday, a nationwide survey conducted by OCTA Research group showed that only 19% of adult Filipinos want to get a COVID-19 vaccine while 46% said they do not want to be vaccinated against the illness.
But Gatchalian believes this could change as more and more Filipinos will likely to receive Sinovac COVID-19 shots in the coming days.
“Maraming hesitant dahil bago itong vaccine. Kaya importante dito ang confidence building na dapat pangunahan ng mga opisyal ng gobyerno, well-known personalities, at kahit mga elected officials kagaya ng ginawa ni Indonesian President Joko Widodo at Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam,” he added.—AOL, GMA News