Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo on Monday, slammed Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Francis Pangilinan for their recent remarks against China-made vaccine Sinovac.
Panelo in his daily online program, Counterpoint, said critics must be thankful as the 600,000 Sinovac doses were given free by China.
“We did not ask China for it, they did it willingly,” Panelo said. “Why can’t we just be thankful? Why do we always criticize?”
“These 600,000 vaccine doses donation will not affect our claims in the disputed water in the South China Sea [West Philippine Sea]. The President said, his foreign policy is independent,” he added.
The remarks came after Robredo and Pangilinan supported the call of a group of doctors from Philippine General Hospital for a further review of the Sinovac Biotech-developed vaccine.
“VP Leni, what are you? You said you’re not questioning the efficacy but you’re criticizing it. You know VP Leni, [Sinovac] will not be given EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) if it was not studied,” he said.
“There are many people who have been using Sinovac. In Southeast Asia, even the Indonesian President Jojo Widodo has been vaccinated by it,” he added.
Robredo in her radio program said Sinovac should follow the right process and must secure a positive recommendation from the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) just like what other vaccine brands did.
“Pfizer and AstraZeneca have already secured their EUAs as well as a positive recommendation from the HTAC. But Sinovac, although it has an EUA, has yet to secure a positive recommendation from HTAC. This is what our health workers in PGH are protesting,” she said.
The Philippines received the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines on Sunday, courtesy of China’s donation of 600,000 shots from drugmaker Sinovac Biotech. Inoculation commenced Monday.