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Hontiveros wants Sinovac execs to attend Senate inquiry on vaccine rollout

Hananeel Bordey

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Representatives from China-based pharmaceutical company—Sinovac must appear in the Senate inquiry on the government’s vaccine rollout to clarify senators’ “concerns and confusions,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Thursday.

In a statement released a day before the inquiry’s continuation, Hontiveros pointed out that the P74 billion budget should not be spent on vaccines that are still lacking data from its manufacturer.

“Hangga’t hindi humaharap sa amin ang Sinovac mismo, hangga’t kulang ang kanilang datos, the Senate, in conscience, should not allow a single peso to be spent on Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine, especially if they fail to satisfactorily present convincing information about its safety,” Hontiveros said.

Among the information she is seeking from the Beijing-based pharmaceutical firm are the incomplete data on the vaccine, the inconsistent data on its efficacy, the side effects, and the standard price.

“Paiba-iba ang mga sinasabi ng Palasyo at ng National Taskforce on COVID-19 (NTF). Yung pagme-med rep nila para sa Sinovac just makes us question the integrity of their statements. I want to hear from the pharmaceutical itself,” she stressed.

The lawmaker also noted the reports of Sinovac’s alleged history of bribery which she said was a factor in gaining the public’s trust in the deals it is entering with the Philippine government.

“Hindi ito simpleng business deal lamang. Wag natin isugal ang pera at lalo na ang kaligtasan ng taumbayan. Kung bibili tayo ng Sinovac, patunayan nila mismo sa atin na worth our money and effort itong bakuna nila. Because right now, the Filipino people are not convinced, ” the senator ended.

In the list of invited guests provided by the Senate staff, Sinovac was among the pharmaceutical companies that were asked to attend the inquiry.

Apart from Sinovac, Zuellig Pharma Philippines, Pfizer Philippines, and Unilab, Inc. are also invited to the Senate hearing.

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