Don't wait for ‘perfect’ vaccine: VMMC chief

Philippine News AgencyMarch 1, 2021

INOCULATE ALL. Dr. Dominador Chiong Jr. (center), Veterans Memorial Medical Center Director, gives Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles a tour of their Covid-19 facilities during the official first day of vaccination on Monday, using the donated Sinovac from China. Lorenzana wants the hospital to aid the local government of Quezon City in inoculating its residents. (PNA photo by Oliver Marquez)

MANILA – The top official of state hospital Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City urged the public to heed the government's call to trust vaccine experts.

Dr. Dominador Chiong Jr. said hesitations must be cast aside because it is more important to lessen the chances of dying from exposure to the virus than to not have any at all.

"(If you wait for it to be perfected) then you run the risk of getting infected, when you get infected you wouldn't know how your body will respond,” Chiong said on Monday when the country officially began its vaccine rollout using the Sinovac donations from China.

Mabuti sana kung parang wala ka rang nararamdaman (It’s good if you do not have any symptoms), but what if you belong to that small percentage na gumagrabe (that worsens over time)?”

Chiong narrated that he had a friend, a pediatrician, who died about a week ago.

“Can you beat that? Kung siguro nabakunahan sya (If my friend were vaccinated,) there could've been a fighting a chance," he added.

Chiong lamented how the public is fed with wrong information from dubious sources. He cited that while Sinovac promises only about 54 percent efficacy, it is the best defense that we have in our arsenal now.

"Get whatever vaccine you have now. All these vaccines will protect you from hospitalization or death," he said.

The VMMC chief said they have been campaigning for people to trust the vaccines, in coordination with the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

"Sana marinig nila yung totoong nakakaintindi (I hope they can hear from those who really understand), then it may influence their decisions. Each day that you don’t get vaccinated, you run the risk of contracting the virus, no matter how careful you are," he said.

In his talk with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who also participated in the ceremonial vaccination, Chiong was asked to aid the local government of Quezon City in its move to inoculate all of its residents.

"The marching order is because we have the setup for a massive inoculation, tulungan daw (we have to help the) local government," he said.

Lorenzana said the government can no longer change the mind of its critics so officials will just continue doing their jobs.

"Maraming nagsasabing hindi raw mabisa ang Sinovac, pero nung hindi pa dumadating ang bakuna sabi nila bakit delayed daw. 'Yang mga critic ng gobyerno wala na tayong magagawa dyan, eh di hintayin nila yung the best na gusto nila (The government's critics said Sinovac is not effective. When we did not have them yet, they kept on rambling why the vaccines are delayed. We can no longer do anything about their thinking. If they want to wait for the best vaccines, then go for it). For the meantime, we'll give these to others," he said.

The Defense chief said people must listen to science as it is "the only evidence that will let us out of this pandemic."

"Let us all work together and pray for unity in our country. Sa ating patuloy na pagbabayanihan ay ating mapagtatagumpayan ang ating laban kontra (In our continuous cooperation, we can win this battle against the) Covid-19 pandemic," he said.  (PNA)

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