February 7, 2023

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

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.

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 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.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 121 allowing Domingo to issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Covid-19 drug and vaccine makers.

Domingo said pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, U.S. 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.

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