The government should assure and encourage Filipinos to get vaccinated for the coronavirus instead of scolding them for being reluctant to get jabs, especially with vaccines from China, former Vice President Jejomar Binay said Tuesday.
This dovetailed with statements from Senator Panfilo Lacson and former government adviser Dr. Tony Leachon that noted FIlipinos had the right to choose a vaccine of their choice, and that it was not fair for the government to say Filipinos cannot choose their vaccines, at least from those to be made available by the Duterte administration.
Binay said what the government should do was to allay the public’s fears with assurances – backed by scientific results – that these vaccines are safe and effective.
“It is wrong for Malacanang to equate the public's negative reception to vaccines from China with colonial mentality or being choosy. They simply want to be assured that these vaccines – and all other vaccines regardless of country of origin – are safe and effective,” Binay said.
"They are careful, and it is the job of the government to allay their fears, not to scold them. Why is the tendency to always blame the people?" he added.
Lacson said it's bad enough that the national government virtually controls which brands of vaccines to procure.
Public health expert Leachon also told ANC's Matters of Fact rapped Presidential Sopkesman Harry Roque's remarks as "unfair" that Filipinos could not pick which brand of vaccine they would receive for free against COVID-19.
"That's a very unfair statement coming from the spokesperson because to me it is enshrined in the Constitution that health is a basic right and it is about wellness," Leachon said, adding "We deserve to be choosy because we need to find the right vaccine for us based on efficacy and safety."
As former adviser of the national coronavirus task force, Leachon reminded Duterte's spokesman that the government worked for the people and not the other way around.
"The government works for the people. I think the government should actually follow that particular aspect of looking for the right vaccine," he said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon warned Tuesday it would be difficult for the government to achieve its target of securing 148 million doses of vaccines and inoculating 70 million Filipinos by the end of 2021.