DOH: COVID-19 vaccines should not be limited to western brands


The COVID-19 vaccines procured by the Philippine government should not be limited towards western brands, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

Health Undersecretary and National Vaccination Operations Center chairperson Myrna Cabotaje stressed that all vaccines are effective against COVID-19.

“Studies are showing na they are all efficacious, they are all effective. Tinitignan lang how long the immunity lasts for these different brands,” Cabotaje said in a media briefing.

“Remember, we are still [at] emergency use authorization, so wala pa ring CPR, so may mga kailangan pa rin silang i-prove during this time na nagbabakuna tayo,” she added.

(Remember, we are still at emergency use authorization, so they don’t have CPR. They still have things to prove while we are vaccinating the public.)

The health undersecretary issued the remark in reaction to Albay Representative Joey Salceda’s statement that the government must accept that there is a “degree of bias towards Western brands.”

“We may have to meet where our people’s consciousness and preferences are, if that is what it takes to get them jabbed,” Salceda had said.

As of June, data from the DOH


showed that Pfizer has the highest efficacy rate against symptomatic COVID-19 at 95%, followed by Moderna at 94%, Sputnik V at 91.6%, AstraZeneca at 70.4%, Janssen at 66.1 to 66.9%, and Sinovac at 51%.

Cabotaje said it is only the “colonial mentality” of Filipinos that lead them to prefer brands made in the West such as Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

“There is a general perception na mas gusto nila ang American. Nandoon pa rin ‘yung ating colonial mentality na ‘pag US, gusto natin. But it will be up to our experts and our vaccine czar who is doing the negotiation,” she said.

(There is a general perception that they prefer Americans. Our colonial mentality is still there. But it will be up to our experts and our vaccine czar who is doing the negotiation.)

“We cannot limit to our Western or American brands kasi hindi naman natin alam ‘yung availability. Supply is still an issue if that will be widely available,” she added.

Cabotaje also said she does not completely agree that  Filipinos prefer certain brands.

In May, results from a 2021 Social Weather Stations poll showed that 63% of Filipinos preferred to receive vaccines manufactured in the United States to protect themselves from COVID-19

“There are still dose who like the Russian Sputnik V and the traditional Sinovac. Marami pa rin ang may gusto ng traditional method,” she said. — RSJ, GMA News