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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Different groups react to claims on vaccine safety

Department of Health, other groups belie statements on vaccine safety

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) took exception top statements made by health professionals whom they described as those spreading false information regarding life-saving interventions including COVID-19 vaccines.

“It is especially irresponsible as the country continues to face the threat of more infections Delta variant,” the DOH said in a statement released at midday today.

It said there is a growing number of real-world evidence comprehensively showed COVID-19 vaccines led to significant reductions in hospital confinement and deaths among vaccinated individuals.

The Department of Health said despite the increase in COVID-19 cases in these countries, the same rate of increase is not seen in hospitalization and deaths.

“It is likewise irresponsible for media outlets to allow such professionals to use their platforms to spread baseless information that stand to harm Filipinos, especially those in the process of deciding to get vaccinated,” the DOH statement concluded as it appealed for people to be careful and responsible in spreading information.

Incidentally, the University of the Philippines College of Medicine said they remain firm in their commitment to promote evidence-based practice of medicine especially with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement signed by Philippine General Hospital Director Gerardo D. Legazpi and UP College of Medicine Dean Charlotte M. Chiong, they said their frontline workers and medical faculty continue to serve the Filipino people as they volunteered their services to various government task forces and expert panels to formulate the best response against SARSCOV2.

“As a community of scholars, we appeal to the public to trust the official statements from the DOH, FDA, WHO, CDC and professional specialty or physician organizations including the Philippine Medical Association. Any statement from individuals, physicians they may be former or retired faculty should be interpreted with caution especially as they are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official stand of the UP College of Medicine,” the statement added.

They added statements alluding to the dangers of vaccination, promotion of the use of alternative and repurposed medications that are still under study at the Philippine General Hospital are irresponsible when made public while claiming previous affiliation with the UP College of Medicine or the national university hospital, the Philippine General Hospital.

Meanwhile, a community-based group Bantay Bakunà said there is enough evidence that vaccines are effective against serious COVID-19 symptoms. In a statement written in Pilipino, the group said deaths could be avoided with vaccination.

There have been a number of published peer-reviewed studies that underscored the benefits vaccines extend to inoculated individuals compared to the reported adverse effects on the human body.

Ang agham ay umiinog at nagbabago. Sa pagdaan ng panahon ay maraming sakit at gamot ang natutuklasan. Maraming dambuhalang interes din ang nagbabanggaan sa agham at teknolohiya dahil sa usapin ng pagmamay-ari at tubo. Ngunit hindi ito dapat mangahulugan na isasantabi natin ang mga breakthrough na maaaring maging bahagi ng solusyon sa krisis ng mundo ngayon sa COVID-19. Hindi natin binibitawan ang panawagan na ang bakuna at iba pang lunas sa sakit na ito ay hindi dapat pagtubuan at gawing monopoly ng mga dambuhala. Mula’t sapul, hindi tayo bumitiw sa panawagan na ang bakuna ay karapatan ng mamamayan laluna ng masang mahihirap,” the coalition added.

They called for a human Indemnity Law where medical and financial support need to be extended to people with adverse effects. They added there is a need for free, transparent, and equitable vaccine roll-out across the country in tune with their appeal for vigorous research on vaccines to benefit the people. (Melo M. Acuña)

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