The COVID-19 vaccine, when it becomes available, will not be given forcibly, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday, as governments worldwide moved to secure stocks of the drug that is seen as one of the keys to ending the pandemic.
President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an Executive Order giving the FDA the power to authorize "emergency use" of COVID-19 vaccines and drugs. Last week, the private sector placed an advance order for 2.6 million doses of Astra Zeneca's vaccine.
"Wala naman po talagang pwedeng pilitin para mabukanahan. Ang isang tao ay mababakunahan after full disclosure of all the potential risks and benefits of getting a vaccine. Hindi pwede po tayo pwedeng pilitin o sapilitan," FDA Director General Eric Domingo, FDA Director-General said in a forum, in response to a question.
The benefits and risks of the vaccine will be explained to a person before it is given, Domingo said. All vaccines have side effects and those who will receive it will be strictly monitored, he said.
"Isang mahigpit na post-authorization monitoring ay isasagawa sa mga mababakunahan. Bukod pa rito, makikipag ugnayan tayo sa mga FDA ng ibang bansa upang magbahagi ng impormasyon kung meron mang dapat imbestigahan," he said.
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According to a Social Weather Stations poll in September, 66% of respondents said they were willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if it were available.
Distrust of vaccines remain because of the 2018 recall of the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, the Department of Health said, adding it would launch an educational campaign for people to make an informed decision.
Based on Malacanang, the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed by the second quarter of 2021.