Senator wants probe into alleged anti-vax propaganda by US military

By Wilnard Bacelonia

June 19, 2024, 12:22 pm

<p>Senator Imee Marcos <em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

Senator Imee Marcos (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Senator Imee Marcos said Wednesday she has filed a resolution seeking an inquiry into the alleged anti-vaccine propaganda by the United States military during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

In Senate Resolution 1052 filed on June 18, Marcos cited an article published by Reuters on June 14, 2024 alleging a deliberate and clandestine anti-vax effort by the US military "to discredit China's Sinovac vaccines as a response to Beijing's efforts to blame the United States for the pandemic."

It was also allegedly designed to counter China's growing influence in the Philippines and other developing countries.

According to the article, the anti-vax campaign by the US military was conducted through fake Internet accounts meant to impersonate Filipinos.

"These reported anti-vax and misinformation campaigns gravely threaten national security issues and public health," she said in a statement.

"There is a need to verify if indeed, the anti-vax and misinformation campaign was orchestrated by the US military, and if in the affirmative, there is a need to determine the ramifications of the actions of the US military, any potential breach of international law by the United States of America, and the possible legal recourse available to the Philippines."

Marcos noted that to combat the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country, the Philippine government launched a vaccination drive using Sinovac's CoronaVac vaccine on March 1, 2021.

However, shortly after the rollout of the Sinovac vaccine, numerous posts appeared on various social media platforms, which cast doubt on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.

"These numerous social media posts sowed mistrust against the Sinovac vaccine and other Covid-19 vaccines," she said, noting that the population's mistrust of other vaccines in the early phases of the vaccination roll-out was evidenced by the low vaccination rate.

In June 2021, the Philippines had among the worst inoculation rates in Southeast Asia, with only 2.1 million of its 114 million citizens fully vaccinated – far short of the government's target of 70 million.

During that time, Covid-19 cases exceeded 1.3 million and almost 24,000 Filipinos died of the infectious disease. (PNA)