Duterte allows use of Western vaccines for seamen, OFWs
President Rodrigo Duterte said the government is ready to vaccinate seafarers and overseas Filipino workers using any of the Western brand vaccines being a requirement for their employment.
Duterte, in the "Talk of the People" on Monday night, said he sees no violation of the equal protection clause in the Constitution if the OFWs and seamen can be given either Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This was despite his earlier pronouncement that the Filipinos cannot be choosy of the vaccine to be administered to them.
"We are ready to vaccinate them with Western brand...there is no violation of the equal protection of laws because this is what the nature of their work requires," Duterte said.
Most COVID-19 vaccine doses used in the country are China's Sinovac brand. But based on previous experience, Filipinos prefer Pfizer.
In a televised press briefing on Tuesday, National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government is eyeing to give one-dose COVID-19 vaccine, such as the Johnson & Jonson brand, to OFWs and seafarers as it is "very convenient" for them.
He said there will also be an application for an emergency use authorization by Russia's Gamaleya for Sputnik Light, which is only one dose when administered.
"And then also, we are also looking into CanSino, which is also one dose," he said referring to a Chinese vaccine.
Currently, the vaccine brands being used in the country requires two doses to get better efficacy. Celerina Monte/DMS