MANILA - The Philippine General Hospital will hold a townhall meeting Saturday to provide its health care workers and employees all the information about Sinovac, the first COVID-19 vaccine set to arrive in the country by Sunday.
“Ngayong araw na ito magkakaroon kami ng townhall meeting para ma-explain at masagot din po ang kanilang mga tanong para baka 'yun ang makatulong sa kanila sa kanilang desisyon,” said PGH spokesperson, Dr. Jonas Del Rosario.
(Today we will be having a townhall meeting to explain and answer all their questions, maybe this would help them in making a decision.)
He said the townhall event is not meant to promote or convince their staff to get the Sinovac jab.
“We just want to make sure that they are properly informed kasi ang nag-stick sa minds ng ating mga health care workers, at totoo naman na 'yun po kasing isang trial ng Brazil na 50 percent [efficacy], talagang dumikit sa isipan ng lahat na 'yung efficacy niya ay 50 percent,” said Del Rosario.
(We just want to make sure that they are properly informed because what stuck in mind was the study in Brazil about the 50 percent efficacy rate of Sinovac.)
“Ino-offer namin ang Sinovac on a voluntary basis, wala pong pilitan at ginagalang po namin lahat. Katawan mo 'yan, personal decision mo 'yan. We just have to make sure na-lay out namin 'yung proper context kasi talaga naman kulang ang bakuna and we really have to protect our health care workers. Mas maaga kang magpabakuna, mas marami ang protected, hindi kumakalat 'yung sakit,” he said.
(We're offering Sinovac on a voluntary basis. It’s your body, that's your personal decision. We just have to make sure we lay out the proper context that vaccines are limited and we really have to protect our health care workers. The earlier you get vaccinated, the more people are protected, the less chances of the virus spreading.)
PGH is set to be the first recipient of the country’s first ever batch of COVID-19 vaccines from China. Health workers have, however, expressed reservations on the use of the Chinese vaccine because of its lower efficacy rating than other brands.
Del Rosario said that 95 percent of the hospital's work force was willing to be inoculated, but this dropped to 13 percent after the government announced that the vaccine that will be given to PGH is Sinovac's.
“Ang pinanggagalingan ng aming direktor, meron pong bakuna na available. Ang PGH kasama sa mga COVID referral centers at mga kawani po high risk na mahawa. Araw-araw po nakikisagupa kami sa COVID. Nandyan yung vaccine, I think kailangang i-offer natin sa mga gustong magpabakuna,” said Del Rosario.
(Our director said that a vaccine is already available. PGH is among the COVID referral centers and our employees are at high risk of being infected. Every day we fight COVID. The vaccine is here, I think we need to offer it to those willing to get inoculated.)
He added that they respect the sentiments of health workers following earlier remarks by the Food and Drug Administration that the said vaccine may not be suitable for health care workers directly exposed to COVID-19 patients.
On Friday, the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) recommended use of the Sinovac vaccine for medical frontliners.
“This is purely voluntary. Ngayon, ang aming gagawin ay i-explain pa nang mabuti 'yung bakuna na ito na Sinovac dahil na-focus kami sa isang bakuna so lahat ng information naka-pattern doon,” he said.
(This is purely voluntary. Now, we will explain thoroughly the Sinovac vaccine because we have been so focused on the other vaccine so all information was patterned on that (Pfizer) vaccine.)
Del Rosario noted said that it is only Sinovac that conducted trials with health workers as its study population. This is where the 50-percent efficacy rating was reflected.
“Doon po nakita na 50 percent ang efficacy sa mild disease. Ibig sabihin di naman malubha pero 'pag tiningnan niyo po overall trial nila sa moderate cases at sa severe cases ay mataas po, halos comparable sa iba, mga 80 percent. In fact sa Turkey 92 percent at 100 percent efficacy raw na di ka mamamatay o di ka magkaka-severe disease” he said.
(There they saw a 50 percent efficacy rate on mild disease. But the efficacy is high in the overall trial for moderate and severe cases, almost comparable to others, around 80 percent. In fact in Turkey it was 92 percent and there is 100 percent efficacy that a patient will not die or develop severe disease.)
“Kung iko-compare doon sa unang nailathala na makukuha namin, 50 versus 95 [percent efficacy], talagang mag-iisip ka, magdadalawang-isip ka,” he said.
(Compared with the initial vaccine being offered to us—50 versus 95—you will really have second thoughts.)
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has an efficacy rating of 95 percent and has been included in the World Health Organization’s emergency use listing, along with AstraZeneca's.