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Panelo: Bias not applied on vax

Politics is being involved, they are saying many things like consideration are being given



The Duterte administration doesn’t have a special preference for certain types of vaccine to be used in the inoculation of two-thirds of the country’s population as what critics claimed, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo said on Sunday.

In his online program, “Counterpoint,” Panelo said the government or the Duterte administration for that matter, will buy or acquire vaccines that will pass the test from experts on the basis of effectiveness, safety, and price.

“We are not choosing (any particular brand) that’s why we are talking to seven (vaccine manufacturers) because we are having a problem with supply as there are only 20 percent left (in the market). Most of the large countries have taken it.” Panelo said.

Malice injected
Panelo said the only reason why people are having doubts over the Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines made by Sinovac and Sinopharm is that these are Chinese products. He said efforts by the Duterte administration to procure vaccines is being politicized by critics and naysayers.

“Politics is being involved, they are saying many things like consideration are being given (by the government). Such things are not possible, safety is the main concern there,” Panelo said.

National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr,, previously stated during an online briefing that government was hoping to close out deals with Novovax, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson of the United States, AstraZeneca of United Kingdom, Sinovac Biotech of China and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

Panelo also denied insinuations that President Rodrigo Duterte had taken a Covid-19 vaccine, stressing that the chief executive will wait for the right time to do so.

Such things are not possible, safety is the main concern there.

He said despite wanting to take the first shot of the vaccine to allay fears of those who are not comfortable with being injected due to safety concerns, he will have to take a backseat and let the most vulnerable members of the society such as frontliners, medical workers and senior citizens to be inoculated first to avoid controversy.

“The President can be the first, be the last or be in the middle of taking the vaccine, that’s all okay. There’s no problem with that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Panelo welcomed the declaration made by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) executives that they are willing to take Covid-19 jabs publicly to boost confidence in vaccines.

Wait for your turn
Panelo’s remarks came after CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles also announced that some bishops have decided to offer church facilities as vaccination centers to aid the government in its program. Some CBCP executives also said they are willing to get vaccinated against Covid-19 to boost public confidence in sera.

“We welcome Bishop David’s offer to take Covid-19 jabs shots publicly. In fact they also offered their facilities to be use as vaccine centers, especially in areas where they need auditorium or schools to help in the massive, complicated and very challenging program of vaccination,” Panelo said.

Mayor Sara endorsed anew
Panelo also reiterated that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for him is deserving to be the next president after his father President Rodrigo Duterte.

Panelo said Mayor Sara herself restricted her own father from traveling to Davao City in April of last year in view of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, despite wanting to visit his love ones there.