QUEZON CITY, Feb. 22 (PIA) — Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr. announced in a virtual press briefing today that the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has approved the emergency use utilization (EUA) for the coronavirus vaccine developed by China-based pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech.
The Chinese government, says Roque, needs at least three days to deliver the vaccine to the country.
The EUA conditions, however, need some changes on the priority list. Instead of vaccinating health workers and senior citizens first, Secretary Roque anticipated that it will be given to the economic front liners and the armed forces.
The National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAG) will meet to decide the changes on priority list, the Secretary said.
He said Sinovac vaccine with 50% efficacy rate is very much accepted, not just in the Philippine standards but the World Health Organization (WHO) itself.
“It is not a low quality vaccine… we are recommending it because what we want is to avoid deaths and serious illnesses,” Roque emphasized.
FDA Director General Dr. Eric Domingo during the Laging Handa virtual briefing held earlier said that interim data from Sinovac show the vaccine has an efficacy rate on patients aged 18 to 59 years of 65.3%, based on trials in Indonesia, and up to 91.2% based on trials done in Turkey.
However, late-stage trials in Brazil had shown an efficacy rate of 50.4% when used on health care workers exposed to COVID-19. Thus, it is not recommended for use in this group. (MTQ/PIA-IDPD)