Prior to its rollout, 300 doses of Sinovac‘s coronavirus vaccine (CoronaVac) were blessed by a priest at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila on Wednesday.
The COVID-19 vaccines were administered to healthcare workers who are considered the foremost frontliners in the battle against the pandemic.
Pictures of the blessing ceremony were shared by news outlets on social media, where it has gained traction.
— Ian Cruz (@_iancruz) March 3, 2021
The move drew mixed reactions from social media users, with some amused and others, questioning the idea of blessing vaccines with Holy Water.
“Heheheee….my orasyon pa pala…grabe seremonyas,” a Facebook user wrote in the comments section of the post.
“Mabisa pala ang holy water eh. Bakit hinde nlng yan ang iturok,” another commented with eyeroll emojis.
“Pano po ‘pag di Catholic? Baka ‘di na tumalab sa’min ‘yan,” a Facebook user asked.
Others questioned why the picture gained “laughing” reactions.
“Bakit andaming taong natatawa sa pic na ‘to? Kasalanan ba ‘yan na basbasanan (ang) pwede o maaaring magpagaling sa nakakarami, nakakatawa ba ‘yan? O sadyang ganyan na talaga ang mga tao ngayon haist,” another online user commented.
A user said he found the blessing of the vaccines “funny” because of its origin country.
“Funny coz the origin of the vaccine doesn’t believe in God,” he wrote.
The Philippines is the only nation in Asia wherein the majority of the population are Christians due to the influence of the centuries-long Spanish Colonization.
The country was supposed to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Christianization in April 2021, but it was moved next year due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
Sinovac, on the other hand, was developed in China, which recognizes the following religions: Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Islam, and Protestantism.
First COVID-19 vaccine in the country
On Monday, the Philippines began its mass immunization drive against COVID-19 using Sinovac jabs. This COVID-19 vaccine has varying efficacy rates and has no publicly available data on its Phase 3 clinical trials, as far as medical journals are concerned.
Indonesia’s late-stage trials showed that Sinovac’s CoronaVac has an efficacy rate of 65.3% while a study conducted in Turkey revealed that it has an efficacy rate of 91.25%. Both were conducted as community trials.
Brazil trial, meanwhile, showed that the COVID-19 vaccine has an efficacy rate of 50.4%, which was just above the threshold that the World Health Organization uses to determine if the vaccine is worth using.
This trial involved healthcare workers exposed to the virus.
The Department of Health earlier said that a study found Sinovac to be “100% effective in staving off moderate to severe cases.”