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Hope with Sinovac?

The arrival of some 600,000 doses of donated Sinovac vaccines triggered diverse reactions from Filipinos. It should have sparked widespread hope. The vaccines are coming. But many are not happy.

A large part of the local health community objected to the insistence on a vaccine with only 50.4 % efficacy. Cannot the Philippines reserve the best vaccines for our health frontliners?

The reaction of President Rodrigo Duterte is particularly disappointing. While rooting for Sinovac through the months and personally appearing to welcome the arrival last Sunday, the president said he and the rest of the old men in the Cabinet will wait for the arrival of Sinopharm.

The preference for the Chinese-made vaccines is particularly sad with his ingratiating statements vis-àvis China. Amid the worsening tension at the West Philippine Sea, President Duterte persists with his rudimentary practice of diplomacy that smacks of tacklessness.

Then he turned the arrival of the Sinovac vaccine into something political. He and his social media minions challenged Vice President Leni Robredo to take the vaccine first.

Instead of urging his followers to take the lead in showing a good example of having themselves injected first, they instead bash those who disagree with Sinovac. To think, only 600,000 doses arrived. Duterte followers pride themselves of numbering 16 million.

The president himself said some 70 million Filipinos must be injected to achieve herd immunity. This initial number of donated vaccines is small. And he expects us to hurdle the health situation by 2023.

Instead, the president should have taken the lead in inspiring hope with the arrival of the vaccines. He should have risen above the political disputes. More vaccines of various brands are coming. Vaccination is crucial to opening our economy.

Yes, he could have spun the arrival of the Sinovac vaccine positively. And it is not yet too late.