Drilon objects to Covid 19 vaccine from China

BRASILIA, BRAZIL – AUGUST 05: Gustavo Romero, professor at the University of Brasilia and coordinating doctor for tests of the Sinovac Biotech vaccine, shows the vaccine to journalists amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic  at the University Hospital on August 05, 2020 in Brasilia. The forecast is that 850 health professionals who care for COVID-19 patients will participate in the study to test the vaccine from the Sinovac Biotech laboratory. Brazil has over 2.801,000 confirmed positive cases of Coronavirus and has over 95,819 deaths. (Photo by Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon is making noise once again, this time in expressing his objections to the procurement of Sinovac vaccine for the Covid 19 disease by the Department of Health from China. Drilon said the Sinovac vaccine’s 50% efficacy, which is the minimum standard approved by the World Health Oganization, pales in comparison to the brands developed by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. He doubts very much how this can build public confidence in the vaccine. For Drilon, Filipinos deserve the higher efficacy rate of the other brands.

Drilon forgets that time is the number one factor in the efforts to find a suitable vaccine and provide Filipinos adequate “armor” against the disease. The first delivery of the Sinovac vaccine is expected in March 2021. If the government waits until Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca will have available vaccines for shipment to the Philippines, that may take until the end of 2021. The government cannot wait too long and put Filipino citizens at risk.

With a huge population, there is also the question of cost. Do we risk sending the government into bankruptcy in insisting to buy the more expensive brands? It is a delicate balancing act. But the primordial consideration remains the safety of the people, and a delay will only put more lives at risk.

WHO set the minimum standards for vaccine efficacy. There is never a 100% efficacy rate for vaccines. What this means is that based on their protocols, the 50% threshold is the least that vaccines must meet to achieve an effective shield against the disease. By inoculating a big segment of the population, particulary those who are high-risk, we should be moving towards what is known as “herd immunity”. This will greatly lessen the risk to the population as a whole

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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