Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine not recommended for health workers, senior citizens

Due to the lower efficacy rate, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend injecting Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines to workers and senior citizens despite approving it for its emergency use authorization in the Philippines.

FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said this while confirming that Sinovac’s emergency use authorization has been approved to use their vaccine against COVID-19 in the Philippines.

“It has a lower efficacy rate of 50.4% when used on healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19. Therefore, it is not recommended for use in this group,” he said in his Laging Handa public briefing yesterday.

The Chinese government is expected to donate 600,000 vaccine doses to the country today (February 23). But it may be delayed because they were only given the EUA yesterday.

Health workers and senior citizens are the top priority to be vaccinated, in accordance with the government’s program.

Domingo explained that the product is not the ‘best vaccine’ with a lower efficacy rate because medical frontliners are exposed to patients with COVID-19.

The efficacy rate of 50.4% is based on clinical trials conducted in Brazil, 65% in Indonesia, and 91.25% in Turkey.

“Ang nakita sa trials sa Brazil na binigay doon sa mga healthcare workers na nagtatrabaho sa hospital na nagte-treat ng COVID-19 ay 50.4% ang efficacy niya. Mas mabuti naman po ‘yun kaysa sa wala pero ang rekomendasyon ng ating mga expert ay hindi ito ‘yung pinakamagandang bakuna para sa kanila,” said Domingo.

Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine not recommended for health workers, senior citizens

Sinovac can be used for ‘clinically healthy individuals’ between the ages of 18 and 59, which should not be for senior citizens.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque maintained that Sinovac is not a sub-par vaccine and could be used for health care workers.

“It is not a low quality vaccine. It is better than no protection. Ang iniiwasan po talaga natin iyong pagkakasakit ng seryoso o nakamamatay,” Roque said during Palace briefing.

“It is accepted by WHO (World Health Organization) standards. Ibig sabihin, 50% chance na hindi mo makukuha ang sakit, 100% chance na hindi ka mamamatay sa COVID-19. Bakit naman hindi tatanggapin ng tao ang bakunang magbibigay ng kasiguruhan na hindi ka mamamatay sa COVID-19?” Roque added.