(PNA file photo)
MANILA – Experts from the government and the private sector have recommended the use of the Sinovac vaccine, known commercially as CoronaVac, for health care workers, noting its “100 percent efficacy” in preventing moderate to severe symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In a virtual presser on Friday, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire said the vaccine was “thoroughly reviewed” by the department, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), and the DOH Technical Advisory Group (TAG).
“The EUA (Emergency Use Authority) of FDA establishes the safety and efficacy of Sinovac and our experts have ruled that Sinovac’s 100 percent efficacy rate in preventing moderate and severe cases is indeed sufficient to meet the goal of reducing deaths – protections that we want to afford foremost to our health care workers,” Vergeire said.
The vaccine, she said, was found to be 50 percent effective in preventing mild symptoms and was recommended for “clinically healthy individuals ages 18 to 59.”
Dr. Maria Consorcia Quizon, a member of NITAG, said health care workers who wish to skip Sinovac and wait for a different brand of vaccine may do so, noting that they will remain a priority for the next batch of vaccines.
“Even if we roll out ito, talagang may consent kasi it’s up to the person to receive or not (Even if we roll out these vaccines, we will ask for consent and it’s up to the person to receive it or not),” Quizon said.
Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, a member of TAG, said the 600,000 doses of vaccines that the country is set to receive would first be offered to health care workers, currently estimated at 1.2 million, and would then be made available to other front-line workers aged 18 years to 59 years.
Lim said the vaccine would not be administered to senior citizens.
“Hindi pwede ang elderly. So bababa ito down the line for the group na pwedeng sakupin ng EUA, which is 18 to 59 clinically healthy adults. So, malamang, maaaring makababa ito dun sa essential workers kung may matitira pa po (The elderly are not allowed. So, this will go down to the group covered by the EUA, which is 18- to 59-year-old clinically healthy adults. So, most likely, this will reach essential workers if any remain),” she said.
On Monday, the FDA granted the EUA for the vaccine made by the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech and earlier recommended it to be administered to economic front-line workers and military personnel, instead of health care workers, due to its 50 percent efficacy in avoiding mild symptoms. (AI/PNA)