"The Philippines should do its best in procuring different vaccines that are available in the market."
The Philippines finally joined this week the list of nations that have started inoculating their population against COVID-19. It is a long way to go before the Philippines reaches herd immunity, but the initial jabs received by the first few thousands of health workers should boost the confidence of Filipinos in receiving the vaccine from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech.
The government is distributing all the 600,000 Sinovac vaccine doses it received from China to several hospitals across the country within the first week of March.
There should be no argument about the safety of the Chinese vaccine. Millions of Chinese, Asians and Africans have already received vaccine shots after numerous clinical trials and endorsement from the World Health Organization. President Rodrigo Duterte did the right thing in assuaging the fears of some Filipinos. The Chinese vaccine is backed by science, with Filipino medical experts endorsing it.
A vaccine is a vaccine that aims to shield people from the pandemic. High-profile people and celebrities should take the initial doses available in the Philippines to dispel doubts about them. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. took that lead, along with a few of the country’s medical front-liners.
Former US President Barack Obama in December had no qualms about taking a shot on any available vaccine. Mr. Obama went on record to say that he had full faith in Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the US, if he backed the vaccines as safe and effective. What he does not trust, he says, is getting COVID-19.
The Philippines, meanwhile, should do its best in procuring different vaccines that are available in the market. COVID-19 cases in the country are again acting up after plateauing for several weeks. The cities of Pasay and Manila have noted an alarming rate of increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, a clear evidence that some are lowering their guard against the virus.
The Philippines is not out of the woods yet. But it will help if the population trusts the science behind the vaccines and remains vigilant.