MANILA - A health expert on Tuesday vouched for the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese drug maker Sinovac should it be approved for emergency use in the Philippines.
Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of San Lazaro Hospital’s Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Department, said the vaccine would undergo rigorous evaluation before public use.
"Hindi rin natin masasabi na may shortcut dahil (We could not also say there was a shortcut because) if they are being approved by their [counterpart] Food and Drug Administration or regulatory offices doon sa mga bansa nila (from their originating country), then that would stand as enough evidence that these vaccines are good," he told Teleradyo.
Solante said the Sinovac-made jab would undergo another examination by the Philippines' panel of vaccine experts before its use for inoculations in the country.
He noted that many were speaking ill of the COVID-19 shots before it was being assessed, which could affect public confidence in vaccines.
"We need to trust our regulatory bodies and the process which the regulatory bodies are doing just to evaluate these vaccines," Solante said.
The Philippines has secured 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from Sinovac, Malacañang had said. Of this number, some 50,000 doses are expected to arrive in February and will be given to health care workers.
In a late-stage trial in Brazil, Sinovac's anti-coronavirus vaccine showed a general efficacy of less than 60 percent. Philippine officials earlier said this was "acceptable."
Indonesia had already given the vaccine emergency use approval based on interim data showing it was 65 percent effective.
- With a report from Reuters