Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday insisted that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) wait for peer-reviewed data of the Phase 3 study of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine, CoronaVac, before granting Emergency Use Approval (EUA) or accepting the vaccine as a gift from China.
She issued the statement after the DFA reported that China promised 500,000 free jabs to the Philippines.
“For the record, China continues to bully us in our own waters and maintains a telecom deal in our own military camps,” Hontiveros said.
“We should be wary of gifts it gives us in the name of friendship kung ipinagkakait nila ang importanteng datos tungkol sa bakuna. If China is really our friend, they will go through all the steps to make sure the vaccine is safe before giving it out for free,” she added.
Sinovac has not released the results of the Phase 3 trials it conducted in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey which contain important information regarding side effects and duration of effectiveness.
Medical journals have also not reviewed or published any of CoronaVac’s Phase 3 data.
“Bakit nating bukas-palad tatanggapin ang libreng turok ng Sinovac kung wala pa namang kumpletong datos? If it is as safe as they claim it to be, what is there to hide? Bakit kailangang ipagkait ang mga resulta, pati sa mga eksperto?” Hontiveros asked.
“Bago pa man natin tanggapin ang libreng bakuna ng Tsina, at lalo bago nating bigyan ng authorization, ipakita sa publiko ang datos na ito nga ay totoo at napag-aralan ng FDA ng mabuti, without bias or ulterior motives. Kahit libre man yan, hindi uso ang blind trust,” she added.
“This is not an opportunity to seek political favor or advantage. Sa usapang buhay ng mga Pilipino, walang dapat may ‘free pass’, kahit libreng ibibigay ang bakuna sa atin,” she said.
“Kahit gusto ng lahat magkabakuna na, we have to be as strict as we can be. People’s lives are at stake, and if we let just any vaccine through, ang Pilipino na naman ang masasaktan,” Hontiveros said.