AS Sinovac vaccines are expected to arrive in the country today (February 28), Senator Francis Pangilinan urged the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) to fast-track its review and recommendation on the use of the China-made vaccines, the first anti-Covid-19 doses in the Philippines.
“Tulad ng mga taga PGH (Philippine General Hospital), gusto natin ng mas science-based na impormasyon tungkol sa mga bakunang ituturok sa atin. Gusto natin ng pinaka-mabisa at pinakaligtas na bakuna para sa ating mga kababayan (Like those in PGH, we want more science-based information on vaccines that will be administered to us. We want the most effective and the safest vaccine for all our fellow Filipinos),” Pangilinan said.
“Calling on Dr. Marita Reyes of HTAC. You promised us in the Senate Committee of the Whole hearings last January that you would not allow politics to interfere with your decision. We trust your words. Please make your decision on Sinovac known soonest,” he said.
Pangilinan, who had called for Senate Committee of the Whole hearings on the government’s vaccine roll-out, backed the call of the PGH Physicians’ Association seeking appraisal of the Chinese-manufactured Sinovac “to facilitate individual informed decision-making” before it is administered to the population.
In making the call, the group emphasized that the PGH’s “ideals of ethical and evidence-based medicine” should be upheld.
“Makinig tayo sa mga eksperto. The best ang ating mga doktor sa PGH. Makinig tayo sa kanila (Let’s listen to the experts. Our doctors in PGH are the best. Let’s listen to them),” Pangilinan said, noting that Filipinos continue to face the threat of Covid-19 as they await the arrival of the vaccine.
“Sinovac, being the only available vaccine for now, must be reviewed by HTAC. Purchased or donated, NO vaccine that will arrive and will be used in the country should be exempted from this requirement,” he added.
Created by the Universal Health Care Law, HTAC is a group of experts tasked with the unique role of reviewing any health technology, including vaccines and medicines, to be used for public health programs.
HTAC reviews the cost, ethics, and community impact of drugs that will be introduced to the public.
The council is also mandated to undertake technology appraisals by determining their clinical and economic values in the Philippine healthcare system, with the aim to improve overall health outcomes and ensure fairness, equity, and sustainability of coverage for all Filipino citizens.
“Gusto nating nagdaan ang anumang bakunang ituturok sa atin sa kinakailangang pagsusuri. Kalusugan natin, ng ating mga anak, maging ng ating ekonomiya ang nakataya (We want the jabs that will be administered to Filipinos to undergo mandated review. Our health, our children’s health, even our economy’s health are on the line),” he added.