DOH: Non-Disclosure Policy for vaccine brand

Manila, Philippines– The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday, urged Local Government Units (LGUs) not to disclosed the vaccine brands to be used in vaccination sites.

“The best vaccines is the is the one that is available; therefore in order to overcome brand preference, LGUs should not announce the brand of vaccine to be used in vaccination center. Given that every single day of delay increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission or infection, it is imperative the people get vaccinated immediately using the available vaccine”, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said.

“The person will be informed of the brand in the vaccination center and he will have to give his informed consent but if he refuses, he will have to go back to the back of the line,” he added.

“Not announcing what brand will be available in inoculation sites will not take away the right of individuals to be informed of the vaccine they are taking, as the vaccination process entails on-site vaccine education, proper recording using vaccination cards, and monitoring for Adverse Events Following Immunization,” DOH said on the statement.

Dr. Tony Leachon, former adviser of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) said that people must be informed about the brand of vaccines they are getting in when they registering online.

“Dapat hindi inaanunsyo in public but they should announce it kapag nag-register iyong mga tao online para alam naman nila kung ano iyong bakuna na makukuha nila at hindi masasayang iyong pagpunta nila sa vaccination center,” Dr. Tony Leachon said.

All vaccines issued with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are all safe and effective, as these underwent rigorous evaluation processes including the Department of Science and Technology (DOT), FDA and experts group, according to DOH

“We have to be reminded that vaccine confidence should be built in the stringent processes that lead to the vaccine development, local authorization, and recommended use of these vaccines, and definitely not by the brand,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

“As more vaccine supplies become readily available, I encourage everyone to take the earliest opportunity to get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines give additional protection against COVID-19 to prevent hospitalization and death. We, at DOH, call on the public to choose to be vaccinated to protect yourselves and your loved ones, the soonest possible time”, he added.

The Palace expressed support for the non-disclosure policy of vaccine brand. Secretary Harry Roque said, President Duterte himself issued the directive following the report of lack of physical distancing in a vaccination sites where Pfizer brand vaccines were administered.

“All vaccines are equal. They were studied thoroughly and all of them are safe and effective. That’s why the best vaccine is the one being injected into your arm,” Secretary Roque said on a press briefing.

Some sectors disagree about the DOH’s “brand agnostic policy”, saying that people have the right to know the type of vaccines that they are getting in. Some says that withholding of information about the vaccines can caused the public’s doubt on the national vaccination program.

In his press briefing on Thursday, Secretary Roque reiterate the principle of informed consent and the people has always been informed that all vaccines were created equal.

“Ang informed consent po ay sasabihan ang ating mamamayan na dumaan po sa proseso ang lahat ng bakunang ibinibigay natin sa ating mga kababayan. Hindi lang po yan dumaan sa proseso sa Pilipinas, dumaan din po ‘yan sa proseso abroad”. Roque said.

“This is what the president said: We cannot choose the brand of vaccine. The safest vaccine is the vaccine that is injected into your arm, regardless of the brand,” he added.

Sec. Roque denied that the non-disclosure of vaccine brand would lead to lack of transparency.

“Ang importante sa transparency ay yung katotohanan na kapag hindi tayo magpapabakuna, yung mga bagong variants po ay mas nakakahawa at yung ilan ay pinaghihinalaan na mas delikado. So full transparency is the (affirmation that the) best vaccine is the vaccine that will be given to you”, he added.

Pfizer Covax for Indigent Population

Secretary Roque said President Duterte directed Pfizer vaccines to be given to the poor or in an indigent people because that is the policy of COVAX.

“Ipinag-utos din po ng Pangulo na ibigay ang Pfizer sa mga mahihirap or sa indigent population dahil yan po ang patakaran ng Covax. Dagdag ni Presidente ilagay ang Pfizer hindi sa mga mall kundi sa vaccination sites sa mga barangays kung saan mababa ang takeup ng vaccines”, Roque said.

So far, the country has received a total of 5.5 million doses of SinoVac COVID-19 vaccines from which 1 million doses were donated by the Chinese government.

The Philippine government has distributed at least 7,671,120 doses of COVID vaccines as of May 18, 2021. Each person need 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

As of May 18, 786,528 were fully vaccinated and 2,512,942 received their first dose of vaccine. The government has administered a total of 3,299,470 doses of vaccines.

The government achieved a 7-day average of vaccinated individuals of 108,540. The government also assures that the vaccines is free for all.

The government targets to vaccinate 70 million people by the end of the year. 

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