Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) – March 12, 2021 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — What is the best COVID-19 vaccine for senior citizens?

A party-list congressman raised this question to the Department of Health (DOH), following issues on the efficacy of China-manufactured CoronaVac by Sinovac and the United Kingdom’s vaccine AstraZeneca, the two available COVID-19 vaccines in the country so far.

Senior Citizens party-list Rep. Rodolfo Ordanes cited the need for DOH to be aggressive in explaining the matter to eliminate the hesitancy of the elderly to get vaccinated against the disease.

“The DOH should explain what the best vaccine choice for us senior citizens is, since they are the ones who are knowledgeable about it,” Ordanes said at Wednesday’s media forum in Congress.

The lawmaker believes that majority of the estimated 9.8 million senior citizens in the country are willing to be vaccinated so they could finally go out without worrying about contracting the virus.

“My advice to our fellow senior citizens is to consult first with their doctors if they can get the vaccine,” said Ordanes, adding that he is willing to be inoculated.

“I am willing to be vaccinated in public to build trust among our senior citizens. Because doctors will not give these vaccines if they are not effective,” he said.

The lawmaker made the call after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided not to endorse the Sinovac vaccine for senior citizens reportedly due to its low 50-percent efficacy in preventing mild symptoms of COVID-19.

AstraZenica, on the other hand, is reportedly not effective in preventing the transmission of the South African strain of the virus, which is already found in the country.