Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Wednesday claimed that Dr. Tony Leachon is positioning himself for the top job at the Department of Health (DOH) after the latter criticized the government’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement.

Leachon, who has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to fire Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for “failure of leadership” amid the pandemic, told a Senate inquiry last week that only five vaccines are effective against the highly contagious Delta variant.

He excluded Sinovac’s CoronaVac, which comprises around half of all vaccines procured by the government, due to the alleged lack of data on its efficacy.

In response, Galvez said Leachon is not a vaccine expert and mentioned the latter’s supposed ambition to run the DOH.

Last December, President Rodrigo Duterte accused Leachon of criticizing the administration’s COVID-19 response so that he will be appointed to a government post.

“Iyong word na ‘posturing’ I believe sa kaniya iyon eh kasi talagang nagpu-posture siya para mag-secretary siya ng DOH. Kasi noong nasa NTF siya, lagi niyang sinisiraan si Secretary Duque at saka po anong ginagawa ng DOH,” Galvez said at a Palace news conference.

“Noong malaman ko na ‘yung posturing niya pala noon na gusto niyang mag-secretary ng DOH, talagang tinanggal namin siya.”

Both Galvez and presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also emphasized that all vaccines are working based on real world data.

Reacting on Twitter, Leachon said: “I heard that Sec. Galvez and Sec. Roque are attacking me now in a Palace briefing.” 

“I always cheer up immensely if an attack is out to silence me — No way. I think, well, if they attack me personally, it means they have not a single, correct and logical argument left.”

The National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) terminated Leachon’s services as special consultant in June last year, saying his “preemptive releases of some information prior to official announcement and adaption jeopardized the communication efforts” of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the NTF. — RSJ, GMA News

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