Medical frontliners thronged the Philippine General Hospital Friday to protest a COVID-19 vaccine rollout using one made by China's Sinovac, saying they were promised a different jab.
Members of the All UP Workers Union-Manila and PGH health workers said they "deserve the best COVID-19 vaccine." The group said they were supposed to get the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, which is more effective according to laboratory and real world tests.
The Food and Drug Administration cleared Sinovac's CoronaVac for emergency use, except for frontliners, citing its efficacy rate of 50.4%. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the FDA's statement amounted to a recommendation instead of a prohibition.
“The important thing to remember here is whatever vaccine comes, we should welcome it because it will definitely make a difference in helping control the spread of this infection, and the first area where we should control it will be in the hospitals,” UP-PGH Director Gab Legaspi said as he accompanied Roque in delivering news of the rollout.
As the biggest COVID-19 referral hospital in the country, PGH has been conducting simulations for the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine since early February.
"Ang aming preregistration, nagpakitang 94% ay may consent for vaccination. Pero dapat maging tapat ako: nung kinuha namin ang consent nila, Pfizer vaccine ang aming pinaghahandaan," said Legaspi.