After the chaos caused by the rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, local governments have been told that they can no longer announce vaccine brands before the date of inoculation.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said local officials can just inform residents about the vaccine brand on-site, as recommended by the Department of Health. DILG Secretary Eduardo Año announced this while assuring Filipinos that all vaccines approved in the country had “gone through a stringent approval process and are therefore safe and efficacious.”
“The best vaccine is the one that is available; therefore in order to overcome brand preference, LGUs should not announce the brand of vaccine to be used in vaccination centers,” he said.
A few days ago, chaos erupted in Manila and Parañaque, where limited doses of Pfizer were jabbed to eager residents who were informed beforehand that the Western-made drug was available. In Manila, at least 3,000 people showed up, when only 900 doses are going to be given. Experts were worried that such instances could become super spreader events.
To prevent a repeat of the incident, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said local officials should refrain from announcing the vaccine brand, an idea that scores of Filipinos protested against because it was supposedly a violation of informed consent. The official said people who refused the brand will be told that they have to go to the end of the vax line.
Most Pinoys prefer Western-made vaccines such as Pfizer, Moderna, and even Astra-Zeneca, but the Duterte government chose to procure the Chinese-made CoronaVac instead. Some Pinoys are wary of Sinovac’s jab because of its relatively low efficacy and their animosity towards Beijing, which has occupied portions of the West Philippine Sea.
This article, Local gov’ts prohibited from announcing vax brands in advance, says DILG, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.