Despite the acute scarcity of Covid19 vaccines being experienced by numerous local government units all over the archipelago, the father of San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora still managed to get himself pricked four times, never mind if health experts claim this isn’t advisable.
San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, 76, bragged during a public assembly last week that he had been inoculated with two shots of “bootleg” or smuggled Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine late last year that had not yet been approved for distribution locally by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
And last June, Zamora said, upon the strong advice of his personal physicians, he received two more doses of the coveted Pfizer vaccine as booster shots.
The FDA only gave Sinopharm, which was developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) last month thereby allowing it to be used legally in the country.
Health Sec. Francisco Duque, who was present at the same gathering, only issued a wry smile upon hearing the disclosure, without even a comment.
“If you’re wondering why I am not wearing a mask, I am telling you now that it’s because I have been vaccinated twice over,” Rep. Zamora revealed.
The World Health Organization (WHO), however, warned against “vaccine mixing” or combining Covid vaccines from different manufacturers for now because there is still no sufficient data to merit the procedure.
“It’s a little bit of a dangerous trend. We are in a data-free, evidence-free zone as far as mix and match,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan recently told a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
Sinopharm is the same vaccine administered to members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) in September 2020. At the time, this was considered unlawful because only the government was allowed to import vaccines.
However the PSG vigorously justified its actions by saying their primary responsibility is to protect the life of the President which is why they all had to get vaccinated “by hook or by crook” because he might get infected.
For now, the DOH does not recommend giving booster shots, even for frontline workers, due to insufficient evidence on their safety and effectiveness.
But this is totally in contrast to other countries – like Indonesia and Thailand – whose officials are now rushing to give their health workers booster shots to immunize them from the deadlier Covid variants circulating.