AFP: Troops can refuse Sinovac, but would have to pay
A Sinovac vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus is seen at a psychiatric hospital in Banda Aceh on February 6, 2021.

AFP: Troops can refuse Sinovac, but would have to pay

Xave Gregorio (Philstar.com) - February 26, 2021 - 12:41pm

MANILA, Philippines — While all troops are required to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Friday that they can choose not to get the Sinovac shots allocated for them, but they would have to pay.

“Our soldiers can choose a different vaccine brand,” AFP spokesperson MGen. Edgard Arevalo said in Filipino during a briefing aired on state-run People’s Television. “But since these are not the vaccines allotted for the AFP, they would need to pay for the vaccine brand that they would get.”

It is unclear how this would work as currently, the three coronavirus vaccines created by Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sinovac only have emergency use authorizations from the Food and Drug Administration, which means that they cannot be sold commercially.

A vaccine has to have a certificate of product registration from the FDA before it can hit the shelves.

Arevalo did not clearly explain how troops who would prefer a brand other than Sinovac would pay for vaccines, only saying that this is a “concept” available to them.

“If they really want to opt for another brand apart from the effective vaccine that we have allocated for our soldiers, then they can exercise that option,” he said partly in Filipino.

Of the 600,000 doses of the Chinese-made coronavirus vaccines, which Malacañang said is set to arrive Sunday, 100,000 are earmarked for the military personnel.

In explaining why troops are required to get the shots, Arevalo likened it to donning protective equipment during battle.

“We give our soldiers protective equipment during battle because they will fight a fierce enemy. We cannot allow it to be optional if they want to wear protective equipment or not,” he said in Filipino.

Arevalo said that they target to vaccinate 100 personnel per day at 47 vaccination sites across the country once the shots are available for use

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 19, 2021 - 12:17pm

The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.

Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)

April 19, 2021 - 12:17pm

The Department of Health approves the resumption of the distribution of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to persons below 60 years old.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire says this was upon the recommendation of the country's Food and Drug Administration.

April 16, 2021 - 8:19am

As approved by the inter-agency task force on COVID-19, Priority Group A4 of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Development Plan will include:

  • commuter transport (land, air and sea), including logistics
  • public and private wet and dry market vendors 
  • frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services 
  • workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products 
  • frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
  • frontline workers in private and government financial services 
  • frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments 
  • priests, rabbis, imams and other religious leaders 
  • security guards/personnel assigned in offices, agencies and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
  • frontline workers in private and government news media 
  • customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
  • frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies 
  • overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months 
  • frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
  • frontline government workers engaged in the operations of government transport system, quarantine inspection worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities 
  • frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel 
  • diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs personnel in consular operations 
  • Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure
April 15, 2021 - 2:28pm

The US, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will provide P170 million in support to help the Department of Health rollout the government's COVID-19 vaccination program.

According to the US Embassy, the aid was announced by US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law during a visit to a Caloocan City vaccination site with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and other officials.

"Through this new funding, USAID will support the Philippines in strengthening the vaccine supply chain, monitoring vaccine safety, and delivering effective communication campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy.  This assistance will also support local government units as they plan for, track, and administer vaccines."

April 13, 2021 - 8:42pm

Top US health authorities recommended a "pause" in the use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine "out of an abundance of caution" as they investigate any links between it and blood clots, a regulator said Tuesday.

The US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control are assessing the "potential significance" of six reported cases of a rare blood clot in patients who have received the shot, the FDA tweeted. 

"Until that process is complete, we are recommending this pause," it said.

The regulator said that as of Monday more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine had been administered in the US.

"CDC & FDA are reviewing data involving 6 reported U.S. cases of a rare & severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine. Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare," the FDA stated on Twitter. — AFP 

April 13, 2021 - 11:20am

Some 20 million doses of Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in the Philippines within the next four months.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. says the government will sign a supply agreement with Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute this week.

“It can be used on the elderly, so from 18 and above. So we can use this and the good thing is at least in the absence of AstraZeneca, we can use this,” Galvez says in an interview with ANC's "Headstart."

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