Filipinos should not choose what type of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) to receive since all those products will be on “equal footing” once the emergency use authorization (EUA) applications were granted, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

“Basta nabigyan na ng EUA ng FDA (Food and Drug Administration), equal footing na po ‘yan. Pare-pareho na po silang safe at epektibo. Hindi po kailangan mamili,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Vergeire’s remark supports presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s statement that Filipinos can’t be choosy in getting a Covid-19 vaccine. Roque said that Filipinos are just practicing their colonial mentality by choosing Pfizer over China-made Sinovac. 

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri slammed Roque’s statement and said that preventing taxpayers from choosing a Covid-19 vaccine they want to get is unfair. 

Vergeire said that the FDA will make sure that all vaccines that pass through it are safe and effective. 

“Lahat ng bakuna kapag pumapasok sa ating bansa, sisiguruhin ng FDA na ito ay ligtas ay epektibo,” she said.

“Kaya kung ano pong maunang bakuna na dumating, atin pong tanggapin ‘yan. Tandaan po natin, ang objective po ng gobyerno ay mabigyan tayo ng bakuna para maibsan ang ating sitwasyon.”

To further combat the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country, Vergeire explained that receiving a vaccine is one of the most effective strategies. 

China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac are also set to send their EUA applications in the Philippines. But even without an EUA application, the Department of Health (DOH) has secured some 25 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Sinovac, with the initial batch soon to arrive by February, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The Philippines is currently negotiating with Pfizer, whose Covid vaccine has been proven 95% effective after human trials.

The number of doses the Philippines is ordering has not yet been finalized. Ronald dela Cruz