After months of fuming at illegally vaccinated presidential bodyguards and Special Envoys to China, the Philippines has finally gotten hold of its own batch of legal and non-smuggled vaccines.
Philippine General Hospital Director Dr. Gap Legazpi had the courtesy of receiving the first legitimate jab of Coronovac, provided by Chinese biopharmaceutical company, Sinovac. The shot comes almost a year after the Duterte government placed Metro Manila under lockdown on March 15.
According to reports, Food and Drug Administration Director-General Eric Domingo, gov’t medical adviser Dr. Edsel Salvana, and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr were also inoculated.
Phil General Hospital Director Dr. Gap Legazpi receives first jab of Coronavac, Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccines as Philippines begins its vaccination program | via @Joseph_Morong pic.twitter.com/DcmHb10LDi
— GMA News (@gmanews) March 1, 2021
The drive was an effort to raise vaccine confidence in a country that aims to vaccinate at least 50 million people or a quarter of its population within the year.
\While the goal is ambitious, it’s also a hard ask, considering the low vaccine confidence among Filipinos. In a study by the OCTA Research Group, only 19% are willing to get vaccinated, while 45% are totally against, and 35% haven’t made up their minds.
The survey highlights safety issues and a general distrust in China-made vaccines as one of the main concerns. Apart from Sinovac, PH is waiting on 6 other shipments, which include popular names such as Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.
However, health officials from around the world have tried to downplay the growing stigma of ‘good vs bad’ vaccines, saying that authorized vaccines have been greenlighted for a reason – that is, they’ve all proven to give significant protection against COVID-19.