CoronaVac still ‘useful’ despite low efficacy rate: DOH, FDA

Vaccination continues in the Philippines with China’s Sinovac Biotech’s COVID-19 CoronaVac, which can now also be given to senior citizens.

That is despite the alleged admission of the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the protection provided by such Chinese vaccines is “not very high.”

In the report, CDC Director Gao Fu said it was studying whether the dosage should be changed, as well as the interval or number of days between the first and second doses. China is also considering mixing the vaccine using different technologies.

But in his statement to China state tabloid Global Times, Gao said there was a misunderstanding in his earlier statement.

“It was a complete misunderstanding,” he said.

Gao explained that Chinese vaccines have low and high protection rate test data, so scientists must continue to find ways to strengthen the protection they provide.

CoronaVac still ‘useful’ despite low efficacy rate: DOH, FDA

According to the Department of Health (DOH), the efficacy of Sinovac is between 65 percent to 91 percent based on phase 3 clinical trials in Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey.

But a study also showed efficacy decreases by 50.4 percent when CoronaVac is used on health workers exposed to COVID-19 patients, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Despite this, the FDA and the said that such a vaccine could still help prevent the disease.

“So totoo po na medyo mababa ang kanyang efficacy rate compared sa mga mRNA, pero useful naman ito. Lalo na ngayon, ito ang available sa atin, malaki naman ang maitutulong ng mga bakunang ito,” said FDA Director General Eric Domingo.

“Itong Sinovac na sinasabi from the Chinese government, the efficacy for mild disease would be about 50 to 60 percent, pero ang efficacy naman niya for severe would be 90 percent and more. Wala naman talagang bakuna na nagsabi na makaka-block siya ng transmission. Ibig sabihin, kahit nabakunahan na tayo, we can still get the infection, pero the promise of the vaccine would be, there would be lesser chances for you of getting hospitalized, lesser chances for you of this severe form of the disease, and lesser chances of dying,” explained spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Half a million additional doses of CoronaVac arrived in the Philippines on Monday.