Former National Task Force (NTF) special adviser Dr. Tony Leachon said he was “surprised” that Presidential spokesman Harry Roque and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez did not answer his questions regarding the government’s vaccine acquisition plans, and instead resorted to “ad hominem attacks.”

Dr. Tony Leachon, former special adviser to the National Task Force against COVID-19.
(Photo from Tony Leachon’s Facebook page)

“I’m not surprised that this has been the reaction. My only surprise is they did not answer the question on efficacy and safety data and then resorted to those kinds of assaults which I think will be unfair to my personality,” Leachon told ANC in an interview on Tuesday.

“I was just asking a fair scientific question in order to gain the confidence of the people in terms of their acceptance of vaccination,” he added.

Roque and Galvez both slammed Leachon after the latter tweeted that the government’s prioritization of vaccines which does not have “enough safety and efficacy data” is “disturbing.”

The former NTF adviser pointed out that the vaccine by Chinese manufacturer Sinovac Biotech which the government is inclined to purchase have not received any Emegrycn Use Aithtozition (EUA) nor any Food and Drugs Admiandatrio (FDA) approval “to warrant an ordering of a particular volume of stock that will start in March.”

“Basically that is the premise of the situation why I was questioning the efficacy rate and the safety considering that particular drug was started in mass vaccination in China when the vaccine has not finished Phase 3 trials so this is the questions that we need to understand,” Leachon said.

The health expert also denied that he is “anti-China,” saying it was not the reason why he is questioning the possible procurement of the Sinovac-made vaccine.

“As a clinician, as well as a former executive of a pharmaceutical industry, you always base the procurement of a certain product based on efficacy and safety and of course the evaluation because this is the main thing that would actually allow you for market authorization,” he said.

The health expert said that Sinovac has yet to have “regulatory documents.”

“We don’t have the regulatory documents for efficacy and safety which should be transparent and should be reviewed by our public health experts as well as other epidemiologists,” he said.

Leachon reiterated that his questions for “scientific” and “collegial.”

“It is my role as a health advocate to really tell the truth regarding certain medical aspects of the COVID pandemic response,” he said.

Leachon also shot down Roque’s accusation that the health expert is gunning for a position in the government.

“That’s not correct because I’ve been a health advocate for eight months and for the information of the public meron po akong disentetng buhay (I have a decent life), I have a good life,” he said.

“I’d like to reiterate and emphasize that I’m not gunning for any public office, I’m not going to be a public official in the future. I’m doing this without expecting anything in return. I have nothing to gain in this particular advocacy work of mine,” he added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (