Despite the well-laid plans of the government, thousands of health care workers throughout the country have unequivocally rejected pleas to get inoculated with the China-made Sinovac drug (tradename: Coronavac), which could jeopardize the overall success of the vaccine roll-out being orchestrated by no less than Malacanang.
(Health Sec. Francisco Duque had previously disclosed to reporters that there are some 1.7 million health care workers all over the archipelago.)
“We do not want to be turned into lab rats or guinea pigs,” according to one official of the employees union in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
PGH spokesman Dr. Jonas del Rosario was forced to admit that some 95 percent of the health workers were initially quite eager about being immunized because they were told the vaccine to be applied was the Pfizer-made jab which has a 95 percent efficacy rate.
But this figure dwindled to a a measly eight percent after they were suddenly told that they would not be getting the vaccine they were expecting, and instead with Coronavac which has 50.4 percent efficacy rating.
What really roiled matters was the earlier announcement made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under the respected Dr. Eric Domingo, that Coronavac isn’t recommended for health workers (who are frequently exposed to the coronavirus) and senior citizens who are usually saddled with a lot of comorbidities.
“Papaano ngayon ‘yan? Saan kami maglalagay? So we’d rather wait for Pfizer or some other brand that has a higher efficacy rate like Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, etc.,” many indicated during a town hall-style dialogue conducted last week.
Many also stressed they would only allow themselves to be inoculated with a “safe and efficacious” vaccine and not with Coronavac which has not yet been properly evaluated by the Health Technology Assessment Council, which is an independent body not under the Department of Health.
Frontliners at the Lung Centre of the Philippines (LCP) in Quezon City pointedly took issue with the “inconsistent policies” regarding vaccines being espoused by the Department of Health.
“This turnaround surely raises a lot of doubts in our minds that the health and safety of hospital workers are being sacrificed for the sake of political expediency,” they said.
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