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Netizens question gov’t Sinovac preference as LGUs place emphasis on AztraZeneca, Pfizer COVID vax

Is there something else to the Palace’s unbridled fetish towards the Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine?

If you had two vials of COVID-19 vaccine and you were told that one of them was not only more affordable than the other but also more effective, which one would you take?

For health secretary Francisco Duque III, it seems to be the less effective yet more expensive one.

In a move that perhaps surprised no one, Duque announced that the Philippine government has finally landed a deal with China’s Sinovac last January 10.

Not to be confused with the controversial Sinopharm, the Chinese-state-owned pharmaceutical company where the Presidential Security Group got their vaccine from, Malacañang itself has vouched for the supposed efficacy of the Chinese-made vaccine.

This move from the person who is supposed to lead the country’s fight against COVID-19 has puzzled netizens to no end.

LGUs, who, according to the IATF, have to coordinate with the national government before procuring a vaccine— have gone after the more effective and more affordable vaccine from Brit-Swede pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

It seems the national government is hell-bent on getting the less effective and more expensive Sinovac even if people are already hesitant about vaccines…

… or perhaps it’s a ploy to get a “well-deserved payday” for select government officials, particularly the health secretary.

The hashtag #MayKickbacksaSinovac has been trending ever since Duque made the announcement last Sunday, with people pointing out how flawed Duque’s decision was through simple math.

Malacañang, through Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, would argue that “beggars can’t be choosers” since Sinovac will be the first to arrive in the country.

According to Duque, he has managed to secure 25 million doses of the vaccine that will be delivered throughout the year, with 50,000 doses coming in by February, 950,000 by March, and the rest to be delivered in batches of 2 to 3 million doses until the end of the year.

“This is in addition to AstraZeneca as confirmed by Sec. (Carlito) Galvez,” Duque was quoted in a report by GMA News.

Whether Roque’s statement will hold true or Duque’s insistence on the questionable vaccine will pay off, no one can say.

One thing is for certain: the Filipino people are looking towards their local leaders for better alternatives.

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