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Health workers still on priority list even after declining Sinovac — DOH advisory group

MANILA, Philippines — Health workers can still avail of other vaccines against Covid-19 even if they have decided to decline the recommended China-made Sinovac vaccine, a member of the Department of Health-Technical Advisory Group (TAG) said on Friday.

“Yes definitely, kasi itong vaccine natin, hindi pinagpipilitan. When we rollout ito talagang may consent because it is up to the person to receive or not,” Dr. Maria Consorcia Quizon said in an online press conference with DOH and other TAG members, when asked if a health worker will remain on the priority list for vaccines if they decline the donated Sinovac vaccine shots, which was earlier recommended for use of medical workers.

(Definitely, the vaccines cannot be forced on individuls. If we roll this out, we still need the person’s consent, because it is up to the person to receive it or not.)

“Let’s say dinecline, eligible pa rin siya sa susunod na tranche na vaccine na darating,” Quizon, who is also the chief of the South Asia Field Epidemiology and Technology Network Inc., further explained.

(Let’s say this person declined this vaccine; they are still eligible for the next tranche that would arrive.)

Dr. Anna Ong Lim, another member of TAG, also said the health workers “will not lose their place in line” as a priority list for the vaccine.

Earlier, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases  (IATF) approved the recommendation to inoculate Sinovac firm’s vaccine for medical frontline workers.

But President Rodrigo Duterte will still need to approve the recommendation, Vergeire added.

Health experts cited by the Food and Drug Administration earlier said it would not recommend using Sinovac’s Coronavac on the elderly and on health care workers who are exposed to COVID-19 patients, owing to its 50.4 percent efficacy rate, which is believed to be relatively low compared to its peer.

Sinovac, however, claimed that its vaccine is still safe to be administered on even the senior citizens and health care workers, and that it is 100 percent effective against moderate to severe symptoms.

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