The government is eyeing to purchase six to seven COVID-19 vaccines, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday as she dismissed speculations that the government is favoring one product over the others.
Interviewed on Unang Hirit on Monday, Vergeire said these vaccines have an efficacy rate well within the standards of the World Health Organization, or from 50% to 70%.
“'Yun pong ating bibilhin nasa anim o pito na. And the vaccine czar has already mentioned that to the President,” she said.
Vergeire was reacting to criticism of some senators about the government's intention to purchase vaccine from Chinese firm Sinovac, which only has over 50% efficacy rate on its late-stage trial.
“Hindi po tayo kumikiling sa iisa lang na bakuna,” she said.
“Hindi rin po tayo papayag na papasok ang bakuna dito na hindi dumadaan doon sa ating regulatory process, which will ensure that the vaccine will be safe and effective for our population,” she added.
Vergeire stressed that the government has many options on COVID-19 vaccines.
“Kailangan pong maintindihan ng ating mga kababayan, we are getting portfolio of the vaccine. Ibig sabihin, hindi lang po isa kundi marami po tayong pinagpipilian,” she said.
Citing WHO standards, Vergeire said that the minimum efficacy rate of vaccines required during an outbreak is 50%, while 70% is the desired efficacy rate.
On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri urged Malacañang to choose the "best" vaccine against COVID-19 based on efficacy, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.
This after he learned that Sinovac, which Malacañang earlier said to be the Philippines' top pick for a COVID-19 vaccine, only yielded a 50% efficacy rate, aside from being more costly compared to other vaccines available. —KBK, GMA News