Taking the risk in COVID-19 vaccine

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    THE issue of members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) being inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine has taken on a wild, runaway bend, with almost everybody in and out of government wanting to be heard on the matter.

    The latest is President Duterte’s assurance that he will not allow any one from the PSG to face any probe, even as the Senate Committee of the Whole and the Department of Justice thru its National Bureau of Investigation are preparing their own inquiries.

    For a while, AFP chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay had risked the displeasure of his Commander-in-Chief by directing the Office of the Inspector General, the Provost Marshal and other offices to investigate the PSG, but an early meeting with PSG chief Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III allowed Gapay to stay the course.

    ‘There are many questions the senators desire to ask, and who are the best persons to answer them than those who took the vaccine ahead of all Filipinos?’

    If Gapay had been estopped, there are many more Filipinos who wanted to know what really happened, and if certain laws were violated, or if the PSG’s avowed intention and mission of safeguarding the President’s health and safety were attained by their self-medication.

    There are many questions the senators desire to ask, and who are the best persons to answer them than those who took the vaccine ahead of all Filipinos?

    The Senate has scheduled its inquiry on January 11, and Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he would still consult the other senators if they will need to summon the inoculated Cabinet and military officers.

    Sotto made it clear to every one what the Senate probe seeks to do. He said, “The original question of the hearing is — why don’t we have the vaccine yet? When and how to distribute and store them? While the issue for others is: why do others already have the vaccine?”

    While we are at it, there is also logic in Sen. Richard Gordon’s admonition to Cabinet members who reportedly had themselves secretly inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine to come clean and to allow health authorities to examine them for possible adverse side effects.

    Our take is for any credible institution, like the Senate, to dig deeper into the overall COVID-19 vaccine issue, and call for the cooperation of Malacañang, the PSG, the Food and Drug Administration. And why is Carlito Galvez so quiet about this? What do we have a “vaccine czar” for, may we ask?