Dr. Romeo Quijano, a retired professor from the University of the Philippines’ College of Medicine, was called out by the Department of Health and colleagues in the profession on Thursday for claiming that vaccines are “more dangerous” than the life-threatening virus itself.
Quijano claimed in a DZRH interview that there are “other experts” like him in the international scene sharing the same beliefs and that they are only being “censored” on YouTube.
The DOH slammed him for being “irresponsible” especially as the country is dealing with the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant.
“There is a growing number of real-world evidence globally which have consistently shown that COVID-19 vaccines have led to significant reductions in hospitalizations and deaths among vaccinated individuals,” the health agency said in a statement.
“Moreover, despite increases in COVID-19 cases in these countries, the same rate of increase is NOT seen in hospitalizations and deaths,” it added.
Tbe DOH also called down media outlets who gave Quijano a platform “to spread baseless information that stand to harm Filipinos, especially those who are in the process of deciding to get vaccinated.”
The UP College of Medicine and the Philippine General Hospital also released a joint statement about COVID-19 vaccines following Quijano’s claims.
“Informing the public that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and evidence-based treatment guidelines should always be followed,” it said.
“Statement that allude to the dangers of vaccination, promotion of the use of alternative and repurposed medications that are still under study at the Philippine General Hospital are irresponsible when made public while claiming previous affiliation with the UP College of Medicine or the national university hospital, the Philippine General Hospital,” it added.
The UP College of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology likewise backed the DOH and said that “the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks.”
“We encourage all Filipinos to get vaccinated and to consult physicians with whom they can have balanced discussions of the various interventions for COVID-19 treatment and prevention,” part of their statement reads.
The post also included the hashtags “#VaccineWorks” and “#VaccinesSaveLives.”
Kilusang Kontra Covid (KILKOVID), chaired by Dr. Tony Leachon who is a former special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, also reiterated that the importance of COVID-19 vaccines.
“These vaccines have undergone testings prior to their approval and use by various regulatory agencies in different countries and by the World Health Organization. Continuing scientific studies on the actual use of the vaccines also show its efficacy to prevent hospitalization and death,” KILKOVID said.
On Dr. Romeo Quijano interview on DZRH ( anti vaccine statements ):
We can’t accept this advocacy against vaccines. We should all fight this massive misinformation on vaccination now. pic.twitter.com/Q64nVkDcGE
— Tony Leachon MD (@DrTonyLeachon) August 13, 2021
Following the incident, some Filipinos called for Quijano’s license to be revoked as a doctor.
“Remove his license to practice,” a Reddit user said in response to the reports.
“PRC, baka naman pewde bawian ng lisensya, o warningan ng matindi,” a Twitter user said, referencing the Professional Regulation Commission which is mandated to regulate and supervise the practice of professionals such as physicians.
“Dapat [automatic] revoke license agad ‘pag ganito,” another Filipino tweeted in response to Quijano’s actions.
“Revoke Quijano’s license. I’m refusing to call him Doctor because he hasn’t been acting like one,” a different Twitter user said.
Data from the local Food and Drug Administration on Friday revealed that majority of those who got breakthrough infections did not die.
A breakthrough infection occurs when a person who has been fully vaccinated becomes infected with COVID-19. Such incidents happen because there is no vaccine that is 100% effective.
“When people get infected after vaccination, scientists call these cases ‘breakthrough’ infections because the virus broke through the protective barrier the vaccine provides,” an article from The Conversation reads.
“Wala naman po talagang 100% efficacy na vaccine pero nakikita natin na napakalaki ng efficacy ng vaccines,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said in a press conference, pertaining to the report of breakthrough infections and the low number of deaths.
“Hindi din tayo parepareho ng reaction sa bakuna. Iba-iba din ‘yung level ng ating immunogenicity sa ating katawan,” he added.
Immunogenicity is defined as the ability or the extent to which a substance is able to stimulate an immune response.