Senator Panfilo Lacson continues to dodge rumors that he has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
In an interview today on cable channel ANC, he said it’s more important for the Duterte government to raise enough funds to inoculate Filipinos against the coronavirus.
“Whether or not I had my vaccine is little significance or no significance at all. What’s important is we should have the vaccine for the majority of our population. We’re targeting [vaccinating] 60 million [people], and we need something like PHP73.2 billion (US$1.520 billion), according to [Finance] Secretary [Carlos] Dominguez,” he said.
“I think we should focus more on that rather than whether I or Majority Leader [Martin] Romualdez of the House had our vaccine injections,” he said.
The rumor that Lacson allegedly received a COVID-19 vaccine came from Senate President Vicente Sotto. Sotto said early this week that Lacson and Congressman Martin Romualdez had been inoculated with a drug similar to the one developed by Pfizer, which recently reported that its vaccine was 95% effective during clinical trials. Romualdez has yet to confirm or deny the allegation.
In light of the unsubstantiated report, the Department of Health reminded the public that not a single vaccine had been approved in the country. The Lacson-Romualdez vaccine rumor raised questions on whether or not politicians would have an easier time protecting themselves against COVID while poor Filipinos have to rely on government help.
“I don’t look ill. Let’s leave it at that. Let’s just talk about the needs of our people because we really need to vaccinate at least the majority of our people,” Lacson said.
Secretary Dominguez said that at least 60% of the population would be vaccinated against COVID, and it would cost about US$25 to inoculate each person. President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the Department of Health to pay drug companies in advance for the vaccine, after initially refusing to do so.
The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia at 421,722 cases with 386,792 recoveries and 8,185 deaths.