Two senators denied Friday that the Senate inquiry on the COVID-19 vaccination plan of the national government favors a vaccine brand, contrary to the claims of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the chamber has “nothing but good intentions in conducting the hearings.”
“We, the members of the Senate, do not favor any particular brand of vaccines, but we favor any vaccine that is correctly priced, properly procured and distributed,” Sotto said in an opening statement in the third hearing on the country’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.
During the previous hearings, some senators questioned the government’s purchase of the vaccine from China’s Sinovac. Such vaccines were reportedly pricier but have a lower efficacy rate than other brands.
On Monday, Duterte offered to buy Pfizer vaccines for the Senate saying, “You want Pfizer, you senators.”
“You want that? We will order it for you. That is what you want, it’s mentioned over and over again in this article by the Inquirer,” Duterte added.
Senator Risa Hontiveros expressed her woes regarding Duterte’s allegations.
Senators deny favoring any COVID-19 vaccine brand
“Kaya nakakalungkot po ang akusasyon ng Malakanyang na kaya daw tayo mausisa ay dahil may pinapaboran daw tayong brand ng bakuna,” said Sen. Risa Hontiveros during Friday’s probe.
(Malacañang’s accusation that we are probing because we are favoring a vaccine brand is saddening.)
“I want also to put it on record- and it is fully reflected in our Senate journal- na sa hinaba-haba ng mga hearing dito sa Senado tungkol sa vaccines, walang ni isang beses na ako o kahit sinong senador ay may kinilingan na kahit anong brand.”
(All through the hearings here in the Senate about the vaccines, never did I or any senator favor any brand.)
Meanwhile, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. opened up Thursday that he got hurt over the allegations against him regarding the claims in the overpricing of COVID-19 vaccines.
During the Laging Handa press briefing, Galvez was asked to react to the call of Akbayan Chair Emeritus Loretta Ann “Etta” Rosales for him to step down over speculations surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine deals.