Covid-19 vaccination not mandatory: FDA

MANILA

Filipinos would not be forced to get inoculated against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) once a vaccine becomes available in the country, an official of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Thursday.

FDA Director General Eric Domingo was reacting to social media posts urging Filipinos not to take any Covid-19 vaccine amid safety issues concerning its quick development.

“Wala naman po talagang pwedeng pilitin para bakunahan. Hindi po kayo pwedeng pilitin at hindi po tayo pwedeng sapilitan, kapag tayo ay nagpabakuna kailangan naiintindihan natin kumpleto kung ano ang benepisyo at adverse events, side effects o risks nito (No one can be forced to be vaccinated. You can’t be forced and we can’t be mandatory, when we take the shot we must understand completely the benefits and adverse events, its side effects or risks),” Domingo said in a virtual media forum.

To help the public make an informed decision, Domingo noted that the Department of Health (DOH) is planning an education campaign that will explain the purpose, benefits, and risks of vaccination against Covid-19.

“We would like to assure the public we take it very seriously. We will make sure that the benefits will outweigh the risk more than anything before giving the emergency use authorization for any vaccine,” he said.

On Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 121 allowing Domingo to issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Covid-19 drug and vaccine makers.

Domingo said pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, US biotech firm Moderna, Sinovac, and Sinofarm could be the first ones to apply to the country for a EUA as they have similar authorization from other countries.

If ever a Covid-19 vaccine gets cleared and distributed in the country, Domingo said the DOH and the DFA would implement a strict post-authorization monitoring on the people who would take it.

“Nang ang adverse events ay ma-monitor at gayundin, makikipagugnayan tayo sa FDA ng ibang bansa na gumagamit ng bakunang ito para makapag-share tayo ng information at malaman natin kung mayroon tayong dapat imbestigahan (To monitor the adverse events, coordinate with the FDA of other countries using this vaccine and share information to know if there is something to be investigated),” he added. (PNA) 

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