Health workers who will refuse to get vaccinated with Sinovac COVID-19 jabs will retain their priority status under the government's immunization program, Malacañang said Monday, as the first official doses were administered.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque issued the statement after some health workers protested the rollout of Sinovac jabs, saying they were initially promised Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 response ruled that health workers can retain their spot in the line for vaccines even if they refuse certain brands, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
"Hindi po mawawala sa prayoridad ang health workers. At ang naging desisyon nga po ng IATF pupwedeng tumanggi ang health workers at tanging health workers lamang ang hindi mawawalan ng prayoridad kung sakaling sila ay tumanggi," Roque said in a press briefing.
The Philippines on Monday started its vaccination program with Sinovac's CoronaVac, the only available jab in the country so far.
It is the third to be authorized by the local Food and Drug Administration for emergency use after Pfizer's and AstraZeneca's jabs and has been found to be up to 91.25% effective in trials in Turkey but other, more robust trials in Brazil only demonstrated an efficacy rate of around 50.4%.
Philippine General Hospital Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi was the first to receive the Sinovac jab on Monday as the government sought to allay vaccine hesitancy.
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