‘What would be interesting to find out is why the DOH secretary didn’t act on the Pfizer documentation quickly and why we seem to have a bias for the Chinese version.’
SO someone dropped the ball on the Pfizer vaccine, according to Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teddy Boy Locsin. But the Secretary did not name names; it took Sen. Panfilo Lacson to point to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III as the guilty party.
My comment to Sen. Lacson was simple: “Lower your standards, sir.”
Within 30 or so days it would have been a year – a full year – since I first began asking in Facebook posts whether the DOH secretary was up to the task. It was in early January when news first broke about a new virus in China, and we were welcoming Chinese tourists and POGO workers with wild abandon. At that time the Secretary claimed we were ready for any outbreak, and had enough test kits, and even PPEs. And many believed.
Now comes Sen. Ping who claims that the Philippines could have had a Pfizer vaccine by January 2021, had the Secretary submitted the required documents on time. That’s why we are missing out on the vaccine which, by the way, is far cheaper in comparison to other alternatives. And which has efficacy and safety data. Unlike other alternatives.
Instead, our health authorities are focused on getting us inoculated with the Chinese vaccines. Not only are they far more expensive, it seems that the one we are getting, SinoVac, is still set to undergo Phase 3 trials. Phase 3 is the phase where safety and efficacy are established.
What would be interesting to find out is why the DOH secretary didn’t act on the Pfizer documentation quickly and why we seem to have a bias for the Chinese version. Despite the cost and the lack of critical data.
Then again, to expect the Secretary to provide the answers to these questions to the satisfaction of the curious (and the wary) is to look at him with expectations worthy of a capable Health secretary. Which Sec. Duque during this pandemic period has only book failed to do, miserably, time and time again. Enough test kits? Enough PPEs? No need to ban flights from China? Oh… and the PhilHealth scandal which happened right under his very nose?
I was a strident critic of Secretary Duque for a very long time until I learned how to “accept things I cannot change.” He is what he is and because he continues to have the unwavering support of the President we will just have to accept that.
So instead I just decided to lower my expectations – and now choose to pray to the gods more often than I ever have!