People will be told on-site what vaccine they are getting, DOH assures public

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People will be told on-site what vaccine they are getting, DOH assures public
Residents are screened and vital signs are checked for their first jab of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine as part of the vaccine roll out program of the local government at the Ramon Magsaysay High School grounds in Manila on Monday, May 17, 2021.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The decision not to announce vaccine brands offered at inoculation sites will not take away the people’s right to know the COVID-19 jab they are getting, the Department of Health said Thursday as it reiterated that all vaccines available in the country are safe and effective.

The DOH urged local government units to refrain from making advance announcements of the vaccines that will be offered in inoculation centers following reports of crowding in sites where the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is being rolled out. The suggestion drew criticism, with people saying it might erode trust in the country’s vaccination program.

But, in a statement, the department said “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.”

It said the vaccination process entails on-site vaccine education, proper recording using vaccination cards, and monitoring for adverse events following immunization.

In a separate statement, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said that while LGUs will not be allowed to announce the brand of vaccines to be used, people will still be informed of the vaccine brand on-site.

Safe and effective

Government officials and medical experts have been urging Filipinos to get inoculated against COVID-19 as the vaccines granted by the country’s Food and Drug Administration are safe and effective.

Before a jab can be issued with an EUA, it has to go through rigorous evaluation processes involving the Department of Science and Technology, FDA and different vaccine expert groups.

“All vaccines available now in the country are safe, effective, and have been found to reduce risk of severe illness and prevent death after completing the required doses,” the DOH said.

The agency also stressed that “the best vaccine is the one that is available now, regardless of the brand.”

While it is not mandating COVID-19 immunization, the government is highly encouraging the public to take part in vaccination, which is one of the most important tools to help end the pandemic. Officials said it is the “moral obligation” of Filipinos to get inoculated to protect themselves and the people around them.

Government figures showed that 786,528 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated as of May 18, while 2.5 million have received their first dose.

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