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    Pacquiao volunteers to be first to receive COVID-19 vaccine from China

    MANILA, Philippines – Responding to fears that the COVID-19 vaccine from China is unsafe, Sen. Manny Pacquiao volunteered to be the first to receive the shot before this is used by the poor folks.

    Though several international companies have released their own versions of the COVID-19 vaccine and a number of countries are already doing mass vaccinations, the Philippines is yet to procure the vaccine.

    With plans to procure vaccines from China, a lot of Filipinos have expressed fear that the vaccine might not be as effective and safe as the others from reputable companies in the US or other countries. Many can’t help but express apprehension that the COVID-19 vaccine might have ill effects like the controversial Dengvaxia.

    There are also sectors saying that poor are going to be vaccinated first because they will be ‘guinea pigs’ for the vaccine. Meanwhile, there were memes calling on politicians to be vaccinated first instead of the medical frontliners because “we can afford to lose more politicians, not medical frontliners”.

    As the Senate discussed budget allocations for 2021, Pacquiao proposed slashing other agencies’ budget to fund the mass vaccination.

    Sen. Manny Pacquiao
    Photo credit: BBC

    Since the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has the second highest budget allocation of Php694.82 billion while the Department of Health (DOH) is in third place with Php287.47 billion, Pacquiao wants to take some of DPWH’s budget to add to the DOH’s.

    “Sa'kin dapat i-priority ang health, kailangan mabigyan ng budget talaga... especially (ang) preparation sa vaccine,” Pacquiao said.

    “Madaling madali sana magbawas sa ibang agency like DPWH...Pwedeng islash yung budget nila na hindi naman necessary talaga para sa taon na ito.”

    Knowing that there are fears of the vaccine from China being ineffective or even unsafe for use, Pacquiao readily volunteered to be the first one to get it.

    “Sinasabi ko sa kanila pag na-approve na yan, ako muna magpavaccine bago ang mahihirap,” the senator promised.

    — Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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