‘Chinese vaccines are not POGO workers that can speed through express lane’ – Villanueva

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Senator Joel Villanueva today defended the Senate hearings on the national vaccine plan, saying their ongoing probe will “save lives and money” in a country that is among the hardest hit in the region but last in securing vaccines.

“When we finetune the plan, then we are not competing but we are collaborating with the executive. When mistakes are corrected, the people win,” he said in a statement.

Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, said the marathon hearings “have not only lifted the veil of secrecy on the cost of vaccines but have also raised the bar on the kind the vaccines we must buy.”

“Siguro ito po ang magandang dulot ng isang bukas na pagdinig. Nagkakaroon po ng consensus kung ano ba ang mga katangian ng bakuna na dapat nating mabili,” Villanueva said.

That emerging national consensus is the “3M rule” in vaccine selection, Villanueva pointed out.

“Una, mabisa. Pangalawa, mura o abot-kaya. Pangatlo, makakarating agad kasi aanhin mo po ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo,” Villanueva said.

“And underlying all of this is science, which is non-negotiable. Evidence-based selection. We should go where the hard science leads us,” he said.

“So, when we say science then it means we do not blindly express preference for vaccine based on its country of origin. Hindi po porke’t they come in packaging with Chinese characters, we express preference na kaagad even in the absence of a review by our own scientists,” he said.

“Ang Chinese vaccines sa ngayon ay hindi POGO workers na may immigration express lane. Pero kung proven na mabisa, then let us roll out the red carpet for these vaccines,” he said. SENATE.GOV.PH