Sinovac vaccine best for general public with moderate-risk exposure to COVID-19 - expert

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2021 04:26 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2021 05:01 PM

Vials of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport before the arrival of a shipment of 200,000 doses from China, in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 24, 2021. Athit Perawongmetha, Reuters

MANILA - Sinovac vaccine works best for the general public with moderate-risk exposure to COVID-19, a health expert said Wednesday, after the Philippine government approved the Chinese-made jabs for emergency use.

"The best use of Sinovac for now is general public with moderate risk exposure [and] not high [-risk] exposure like with the frontline COVID workers because we know that it will work at 91 percent efficacy," Dr. Edsel Salvaña, member of the technical advisory group that advises the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), told ANC.

After getting emergency clearance, state medical regulator does not recommend giving the vaccine to health-care workers exposed to the disease due to lower efficacy rate. 

It is the third vaccine to receive emergency use authorization in the Philippines after anti-coronavirus shots developed by US drug maker Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, and British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

Sinovac's vaccine, known as CoronaVac, was found to be 50.4 effective against COVID-19 in late-stage trial in Brazil, Salvaña said.

In trials conducted in Turkey and Indonesia, the vaccine registered an efficacy rate of 91 percent and 65 percent, respectively, he added.

Salvaña, also the director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines - National Institutes of Health, explained that the vaccine had varied efficacy readings due to several factors.

In the Brazil trial, he said the vaccine was given specifically to health-care workers with high-risk exposure of COVID-19. 

Another factor is the shots were administered in a 2-week interval rather than 4 weeks apart used by other vaccine developers, he added.

In recommending EUA in the Philippines, Salvaña said the country's health experts had the 3 trials to consider, saying the vaccine's efficacy could still change on future analysis.

He also said the vaccine could still be used by healthcare workers but not those working in COVID-19 referral hospitals such as the Philippine General Hospital.

The Philippines is expected to receive some 600,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine before the month ends.

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