COVID-19

Health workers who refuse Sinovac vaccine will remain on priority list – Malacañang

Pauline Macaraeg

HEALTH WORKERS. Health workers will get priority in COVID-19 vaccination in the Philippines.

‘Walang mahuhuli sa pila, walang mawawala sa pila,’ says Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Healthcare workers who refuse Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine will remain on the government’s priority list for vaccination, Malacañang said on Saturday, February 27.

In an interview with state-run PTV, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said healthcare workers who will refuse the Sinovac vaccine will still be prioritized when their preferred vaccines arrive in the country.

Walang sapilitan. Walang mahuhuli sa pila, walang mawawala sa pila,” Roque said. (It’s not mandatory. No one will be pushed to the end of the line, no one will be removed from the line.)

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This is different from Roque’s earlier statement on January 11, when he said healthcare workers, elderly, and indigent persons who refuse to be given the first COVID-19 vaccine offered by the government will lose their priority slot and be bumped to the end of the line. “Wala pong pilian (There will be no choosing),” Roque said then.

Roque clarified in the PTV interview that the option to choose COVID-19 vaccines is limited to healthcare workers, for now.

Sa lahat po, kinakailangan pa rin talaga, kung ano po ang naririyan, ay tatanggapin natin. Kung ayaw naman po, ay wala namang sapilitan,” he added.

(For the rest of the population, whatever’s offered by the government should be accepted. But it’s not mandatory if they don’t want to get the vaccine.)

Roque added that the Sinovac vaccine is expected to arrive on Sunday afternoon, February 28. President Rodrigo Duterte will lead a ceremony welcoming the arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

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On Friday, February 26, the Inter-Agency Tas Force (IATF) Department of approved the recommendation to use of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine for healthcare workers in the Philippines. Experts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier recommended against its use among health workers since they have high exposure to COVID-19, despite giving it emergency use approval.

The Sinovac vaccine has a lower efficacy rate of 50.4% from trials in Brazil involving healthcare workers, but Phase 3 trials showed it had an efficacy rate of 65.3% to 91.2% among healthy individuals aged 18 to 59. (READ: Sinovac vaccine ‘not low quality’ – Malacañang) – Rappler.com

Pauline Macaraeg

Pauline Macaraeg is digital forensics researcher for Rappler. She started as a fact checker and researcher in 2019, before becoming part of Rappler's Digital Forensics Team. She writes about the developing digital landscape, as well as the spread and impact of disinformation and harmful online content. When she's not working, you can find her listening to podcasts or K-pop bops.