MANILA - Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said Monday he would get the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, as the Philippines began its inoculation drive against the coronavirus more than a year since the pandemic hit the country.
Interviewed on Teleradyo, the 50-year-old local chief executive said he was among eligible recipients of the Chinese-made CoronaVac jabs. The country's vaccination campaign prioritizes health workers and other essential personnel.
"No'ng isang araw ay naisama ako sa listahan ng mga eligible, at hindi naman ako katulad ng mga healthcare workers na napakalaki ng exposure [at] napakalaki ng risk kaya ako ay nagqua-qualify sa Sinovac," Teodoro said.
(The other day, I was included in the list of those eligible [for the vaccination] and I'm not like healthcare workers who are highly-exposed and at risk [of COVID-19] so I qualified for the Sinovac vaccine.)
He, however, lamented the delayed arrival of the vaccine developed by British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.
"Kung meron sanang AstraZeneca na dumating ngayon ay may mapipilian ang ating mga healthcare worker," he said.
(Our healthcare workers would have been able to make choices if only the vaccine from AstraZeneca arrived today.)
The Philippines on Sunday received 600,000 doses of the donated CoronaVac vaccine, which were immediately brought to the health department's storage facility in Marikina City.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III had said the arrival of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines would be delayed amid supply problems. Some 520,000 doses were supposed to arrive Monday, officials earlier said.
The country's drug regulator did not recommend giving the Sinovac vaccine to health workers exposed to COVID-19 due to its lower efficacy rate of 50.4 percent when it was used for trial in the said group in Brazil.
But, according to the company, the vaccine was found 50.65 percent effective against COVID-19 disease in the Brazil trial, which had recruited 12,396 medical workers older than 18 as of Dec. 16 and recorded 253 cases.
The success rate from the Turkey trial was 91.25 percent, local researchers said, based on a preliminary analysis of 29 cases. There was a 65.3 percent efficacy rate in the Indonesia trial.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca's vaccine showed 62 percent efficacy when 2 full doses were administered to adult participants of all age groups.
It rose to 90 percent in a sub-group of smaller number of participants not older than 55 who were given a half-dose followed by a full dose booster.
- With a report from Reuters