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Dr. Tony Leachon and netizens question why DOH chose the more expensive and less effective Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine

Malacañang is also hoping that China would donate Sinovac’s vaccine, highlighting “close relations” between the nations. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Sunday announced that 25 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech have been secured by the country.

Next month will see the distribution of the initial batch.

Succeeding batches will continue arriving until the end of the year to complement AstraZeneca’s vaccines.

“We sealed the deal with Sinovac for 25 million with early 50,000 doses by February, 950,000 by March, and 2 to 3 million in succeeding months ’til December with 25 million doses. This is in addition to AstraZeneca as confirmed by Sec. Galvez,” he said.

COVID-19 policy chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said that the country seeks to have 50 to 70 million citizens inoculated.

“We hope to close the deal with these companies this month,” he said.

Duque was previously criticized for “dropping the ball” and failing to provide the necessary documents in securing the Philippines COVID-19 vaccines.

He denied dropping the ball as deals are still being negotiated.

Malacañang is also hoping that China would donate Sinovac’s vaccine, highlighting “close relations” between the nations.

“I don’t know about the terms and conditions but of course, we expect that it will be paid but let’s see, maybe, just maybe, I’m just speculating, China will donate some of it. Let’s see,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in an online briefing.

“Because their Chinese foreign minister [Wang Yi] is coming, I don’t know what he will say but many of us are praying that perhaps, some of these vaccines can be donated. After all, we do have very close relations with China,” he added.

Over P70 billion has been allocated for the procurement of vaccines. For the most part, this is good news but people are wondering why the government would spend all that money for a vaccine that has been reported to be ineffective against the coronavirus.

Dr. Gideon Lasco pointed out how most Filipinos do not even trust the Chinese vaccine and want an explanation behind the government’s decision.

A netizen had the same question and spotted a pattern on how the government would always go for the more expensive necessity in order to serve the public.

According to reports on testing trials, the Sinovac vaccine only has an efficacy rate of 78 percent, a much lower number relative to coronavirus vaccines developed by other firms.

Doctors are notoriously known as representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, and it seems Duque has proven it with his decision to stick with Sinovac’s product.

Local government units already struck a deal to have AstraZeneca’s vaccine distributed within their respective areas. These cities include Pasig, Quezon, Navotas, San Juan,Valenzuela, and Davao. This only costs $5 a dose whole the Sinovac vaccine goes for about $60 a shot.

Former special adviser to the National Task Force against COVID-19 Dr. Tony Leachon would like a definitive reason Sinovac product was chosen instead of the other vaccines which are significantly more effective and cheaper.

Written by Charles Teves

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