THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) directed Thursday all local government units to refrain from announcing the brand of vaccines to be used in a particular vaccination center following the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH).
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that all FDA-approved vaccines have gone through a stringent approval process and are therefore safe and efficacious.
“The best vaccine is the one that is available; therefore in order to overcome brand preference, LGUs should not announce the brand of vaccine to be used in vaccination centers,” he said.
Año added that the country is racing against time to achieve herd immunity and people should therefore get vaccinated utilizing the vaccine that’s already available for their use.
“Given that every single day of delay increases the risk of COVID transmission or infection, it is imperative the people get vaccinated immediately using the available vaccine,” he said.
He explained that while LGUs will not be allowed to announce the vaccine brand, the individual scheduled for vaccination will still be informed of the vaccine brand on-site. “The person will be informed of the brand in the vaccination center and he will have to give his informed consent but if he refuses, he will have to go back to the back of the line,” he said.
The DILG Secretary emphasized that the individual’s right to information is fully respected but they are just taking this move in order to prevent a repeat of mass gatherings and long lines that occurred when brands are announced beforehand.
“We need to educate the people in order to overcome brand preference. All FDA-approved vaccines are just Emergency Use Authorization. They are all similarly situated. Our health experts have repeatedly said that there is none that is more effective than the other. All of them prevent hospitalization or critical illness from COVID. That is what is important,” he added.
He urged the public to support the government’s vaccination program because it’s their duty as citizens to protect themselves, their family, and their country by being vaccinated.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said an advisory will be issued by the Department to all LGUs following the announcement of Año.