PH orders more Moderna vaccines

FILE PHOTO Vials of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca are pictured at St. Mary’s Hospital, in Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland, February 14, 2021. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday it is unfair for government workers to just wait for a protein-based vaccine instead of getting the available COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this after Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta admitted that she had chosen not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 due to her age and health considerations. She said she was waiting for a protein-based vaccine.

But according to Vergeire, all available COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

“Lahat po ‘yan ay magbibigay sa atin ng proteksyon, lahat po ‘yan epektibo at napag-aralan naman ng mga eksperto (All vaccines provide protection and were studied by experts), so having to say that we (will) wait for another brand would be unfair for the other workers who have followed and complied with the protocols of government and have contributed to the protection in the population,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

“So ang sa amin lang sa DOH, we just want to urge all government officials that let us try to be models para sumunod ang mga tao. Tayo po ang magpakita na may kumpyansa tayo dito sa ating mga bakuna at tayo po ang magpakita na ito po ang talagang ating armamento para maproteksyonan ang populasyon,” she added.

(We in the DOH just want to urge all government officials to try to be role models for the people. Let us show them that we have confidence in vaccines and that the vaccines are our weapons to protect the population.)

Vergeire, however, noted that there are no sanctions for government workers who will choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“There are incentives but there would be no sanctions because of course it is voluntary. Pero kung tayo ay nasa (But if we are in) public service, we are civil servants, kailangan naiisip din natin ang kapakanan ng mas nakakarami sa atin (we should think about the welfare of many),” she said.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the Philippines are mRNA- or RNA (ribonucleic acid)-based (Moderna, Pfizer); inactivated (Sinovac, Sinopharm); and adenovirus- or viral-vector-based (Janssen, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V).

Protein-based Novavax has been approved for emergency use in the Philippines but is not yet available in the country.


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