Jan 19, 2021 @ 19:00

Transparency needed in COVID-19 vaccine procurement, Guevarra says

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday expressed belief that absolute transparency is needed to ensure the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

Guevarra issued the statement amid snowballing calls for the government to disclose an agreement with China’s Sinovac Biotech for the procurement of coronavirus vaccines.

“While there may be some good reason for non-disclosure of commercial terms (like price) of COVID19 vaccines, absolute transparency is necessary in relation to safefy and efficacy of vaccine, as the very lives of our people are at stake,” Guevarra said.

The government has been urged to be transparent in its transactions involving the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines following President Duterte’s refusal to disclose the details of agreement with pharmaceutical companies, specifically the contract price.

President Duterte on Monday said his administration cannot divulge the details of the agreement it has with China’s Sinovac Biotech for the procurement of its COVID-19 vaccines.

“Every negotiation, ibang agreement na naman ‘yan. Does not involve money, but one thing is certain, you cannot divulge the contract price agreed upon,” Duterte said during his weekly public address.

He also criticized senators who questioned the government’s move to order Sinovac’s vaccine despite its allegedly higher price and questionable efficacy.

Nagka-canvass lang ‘yan. Ang akala yata nitong mga, for a lack of a better word, ayoko na lang magsalita. Akala yata nila, ‘yung kontrata sa Sinovac, kontrata sa Pfizer, kunyari. Sa Pfizer, gusto ninyong Pfizer, kayong mga senador. In Norway, 25 persons died after receiving Pfizer vaccination. Gusto ninyo, mag-order kami para sa inyo,” Duterte said.

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