Sinovac vaccine 50 pct effective? Wait for local experts' say: official

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2021 02:35 PM | Updated as of Jan 13 2021 02:54 PM

An employee inspects vials containing CoronaVac, Sinovac Biotech's vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Butantan biomedical production center in Sao Paulo, Brazil Jan. 12, 2021. Amanda Perobelli, Reuters

MANILA — The public should wait for a formal assessment by Filipino experts before speculating on news reports that the COVID-19 vaccine from China's Sinovac Biotech is just 50 percent effective, an official leading the immunization effort said on Wednesday.

Sinovac's vaccine was just 50.4 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infections in a Brazilian trial, researchers said on Tuesday, barely enough for regulatory approval.

This rate is below results they announced last week showing 78 percent efficacy against "mild to severe" COVID-19 cases.

"Hintayin po natin iyong official pronouncement ng ating vaccine experts panel," said Carlito Galvez Jr., Chief Implementer of the National Task Force COVID-19.

"Iyon lang po ay mga pronouncement ng mga different news at ang ano po natin talaga, dapat scientifically proven," he said in a public briefing.

(Let us wait for the official pronouncement of our vaccine experts panel. That is just the pronouncement of different news agencies and it should be scientifically proven.)

The Philippines has secured 25 million jabs of the Sinovac vaccine, the first 50,000 doses of which will arrive in the country in February, Malacañang had said.

In China, Sinovac's emergency use is authorized for the elderly and people who are at risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms, said Galvez, a former military general who is also the country's inoculation czar.

"Each vaccine, may mga different characteristics po 'yan at different benefits," he said.

(Each vaccine has different characteristics and different benefits.)

Bambang Heriyanto, corporate secretary of Bio Farma, the Indonesian company involved in the trials, said the Brazilian data was still above the 50 percent benchmark set by the World Health Organization.

Turkish researchers said in December that CoronaVac showed a 91.25 percent efficacy based on interim analysis.

- With a report from Reuters

Video courtesy of PTV