Zubiri: Plan to buy COVID vaccines with 50% efficacy rate waste of funds

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has hit plans to procure vaccines with a 50 percent efficacy rate, tagging this as “unacceptable” and a waste of government funds.

He also appealed to the Executive Department to look at the quality of vaccines than giving weight to geopolitical reasons.

“The plan to get vaccines with only a 50% efficacy rate is totally unacceptable and a total waste of our funds and resources. That means there’s a 50/50 chance of you getting Covid even after being vaccinated (that) is a joke!” Zubiri said in a text message to reporters.

The lawmaker, who was a victim of COVID-19 himself, pointed out that inoculating the persons considered as high-risk with vaccines that are only 50 percent effective may still put lives at stake.

“Totally unacceptable, period!” he added.

“We appeal to our Task Force leaders to look at the effectiveness of the vaccine rather than political or geopolitical reasons. Safety of our people should come first not the feelings of our neighboring friends,” he said.

“The Senate will closely monitor the deals made through our oversight function and we have already constituted the Committee of the Whole to hear out the rollout plans on our Government starting the first week of January,” he added.

“Hindi kami papayag na ibibigay sa ating mga kababayans ‘yung mga bakunang palpak at walang silbi sa pagbigay proteksyon sa COVID-19.”

The Senate is constituting itself into a committee of the whole in January to inquire about the government plans on COVID-19 vaccine procurement.

This was not the first time the Senate has done this as the senators also convened the committee of the whole to inquire the government’s plan in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines in the early part of 2020.

“In our search for the best vaccine for our people we must input several factors such as safety, efficacy, pricing, and finally ease of distribution and implementation,” Zubiri said.

“All these factors must be harmonized to make sure we deliver to our people the vaccine that is cost-effective but is efficient and deliverable. When we say efficient that means a high efficacy rate,” he added.

On Thursday, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said the 50 percent efficacy of China’s Sinovac Biotech is “acceptable” considering the World Health Organization’s minimum requirement.

“The 50% efficacy is acceptable because that is the minimum requirement set by the World Health Organization for a vaccine to be used by a country,” DOST’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Jaime Montoya said Thursday.

“We have to also bear in mind that a vaccine efficacy may actually change – it may go up or it may go down as more and more people are using it when they are actually rolled out,” he added.

To recall, the government is eyeing Sinovac’s vaccine use for its mass inoculation program,.

This can be implemented as early as the first quarter of 2021, vaccine czar and COVID-19 policy chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

Around 25 million doses of the China-made vaccine is eyed by the Philippine government.

Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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