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WHO Says Brand-Neutral Vaccine Drive to Help Avoid Superspreaders

A 'current step in the right direction.'
by Arianne Merez
May 24, 2021
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

Skipping COVID-19 vaccine brand announcements can help further infections, the World Health Organization's representative to the Philippines said Monday in support of the government's move to do away with publicizing brands.

 To avoid crowding in COVID-19 vaccination sites, skipping brand announcements is a "current step in the right direction," said Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines.

"We should try to manage the situations where people are congregating and creating situations where transmission may increase, and if not announcing the vaccine brand will help in that, I think this is a current step in the right direction," he said in a Palace press briefing.

"Because this will help us to manage these kinds of superspreader events from happening and will also encourage people to accept the vaccines that are being rolled out so we are supportive of this effort," he said.


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Local government units were told last week to do away with COVID-19 vaccine brand announcements following reports of crowding in vaccination sites where American Pfizer jabs were available.

Individuals set to be vaccinated will instead be informed of the jab they will receive once they arrive at the vaccination site, Interior Sec. Eduardo Año said.

The new policy came as the country prepared to expand its COVID-19 vaccination program to economic frontliners, andto  the poor by June.

Abeyasinghe reminded Filipinos that vaccines authorized for emergency use have been proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19 as he sought to cure brand preference.

"All vaccines are effective to prevent deaths and prevent severe disease so it doesn't actually matter which vaccine you are receiving," he said.

Currently, the country's COVID-19 vaccination program covers health workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities.

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