Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday slammed the plan raised by the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 to vaccinate senior citizens with the vaccine manufactured by Sinovac Biotech.
The Food and Drug Administration has only recommended the Sinovac jab for healthy individuals aged 18 to 59.
In a statement, Hontiveros said giving CoronaVac to senior citizens, despite not being suitable for them, is "intentional malpractice."
"This is another reckless and hypocritical proposal by the NTF and our highest government officials," she said.
"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already made a clear recommendation for Sinovac when it issued an Emergency Use Approval (EUA). CoronaVac is not for senior citizens," she added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III both earlier said they would not be taking the Sinovac vaccine, due to being senior citizens. President Rodrigo Duterte also said he would not be taking the vaccine due to his doctor's advice, but that he plans to get vaccinated with another Chinese-made vaccine.
NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Wednesday said the Philippines is looking to give CoronaVac to the 4 to 9 million senior citizens in the masterlist.
He said Sinovac had very limited side effects and there is not much wastage on them.
The Chinese drug maker is looking to conduct a clinical trial of its vaccine on elderly Filipinos.
Hontiveros urged the government not to put the safety of senior citizens in danger just to say that they were given COVID-19 vaccines.
"Our officials seem at peace with 'pwede na' at 'basta nagawa' which is why one year later, we're the only country in the whole Southeast Asia that has an upsurge in cases," she said.
"We will take even more steps backwards if we force the most vulnerable sector in the pandemic to take a vaccine that is not recommended for them. Let's start walking in the right direction before things get worse," she added. — BM, GMA News