House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod partylist) said today, February 23, that the Foods and Drug Administration has been issuing contradicting statements that cast doubts on the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine.
The FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Sinovac yet it also issued advice against administering it to senior citizens and health frontliners, the Negrense lawmaker said.
This development only indicates that the EUA issued to Sinovac was half-baked, Paduano said, as he urged FDA to issue a clarificatory statement soon.
Paduano scored the agency for allegedly putting the image of Sinovac vaccine, in a bad light which, in effect, cast doubts on its efficacy.
There has been opposition to the use of the Chinese-made vaccine from some sectors.
“It’s very complicated because according to FDA director-general Eric Domingo, the vaccine is 91 percent effective in Turkey, 65.3 percent in Indonesia but it registered only 50.4 efficacy among medical frontliners in Brazil,” Paduano said, adding that regardless of the conflicting results of clinical trials, the fact remains that FDA had issued an EUA to Sinovac.
“Rather than shed light on the use of the vaccine, the FDA has further eroded public trust and confidence in inoculation,” he added.
He said the FDA advice is not helping the government’s mass vaccination program.
‘RA 9165 OUTDATED’
Meanwhile, Paduano said he supports the move to amend Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 because it is “outdated.”
He said government data shows that in 2002, there were an estimated 1.2 million drug users in the country. The number soared to 4 million in 2016 and was down to 1.6 million in 2020 if we are to believe government data, he added.
“The drug menace has remained a major problem in the Philippines. This is the rationale behind the move to amend Republic Act 9165 or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” he said.
Paduano said he agrees that revision is necessary for the logistical provisions of RA 9165, which pertains to an organization and budget allocation.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which leads the anti-drug campaign, has been plagued by a lack of manpower. This situation has paved the way for the Philippine National Police to intervene in the multi-faceted drug war. There is a need to strengthen PDEA, if we want them to succeed, he said.
But the proposal to amend the provision on the presumption of guilt must be struck out. The Bill of Rights provides that innocence is presumed while the proposed bill attempts to shift the “Onus Probandi” or the “Burden of Proof” from state prosecutors to the accused, which renders it unconstitutional, Paduano said.
“We should favor the protection of innocent civilians as against procedural expediency,” he said.
Paduano said in due time he will be submitting his proposed amendments to RA 9165.*