Despite FDA advise, PH gov't eyes inoculation of senior citizens with Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2021 12:06 AM | Updated as of Mar 18 2021 05:02 AM

MANILA - The Philippine government is eyeing the use of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine on Filipino senior citizens when their vaccination begins around middle of next month, the country’s vaccine czar said Wednesday. 

That’s despite a previous recommendation from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration to use Sinovac shots only on healthy individuals between ages 18 to 59 years old.

“Kasi nakita natin ‘yung Sinovac, very limited po ‘yung side effect,” National COVID-19 Task Force chief implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. said. “At the same time, walang gaanong wastage ‘yung Sinovac."

Around 4 million senior citizens are currently in the government’s masterlist for inoculation, but Galvez said the number could eventually reach 9 million.


The Philippines is also looking into the possibility of producing COVID-19 vaccines locally. The government is in talks with the Serum Institute of India.

“Gusto nila tulungan tayo na makapag-produce ng sarili nating bakuna,” Galvez said.

“Ang mga hakbang na ito ay bahagi ng istratehiya ng pamahalaan na magkaroon ng stable and reliable source ng anti-COVID vaccines. Iyong stratehiya po na gagawin natin with SII, disease elimination by 2022," he said.

The Research Institute of Tropical Medicine has reportedly submitted a three-year program to expand its vaccine research and development.


The government’s launch of its COVID-19 vaccine tracker, meanwhile, will be delayed because of connectivity issues encountered by some hospitals, according to Galvez.

“‘Yung ibang mga hospital wala pong internet. Iyon po ang nagkakaroon ng delay,” he said. “Medyo mahina ang internet connnection sa ibang lugar."

“Pinag-uusapan ng private sector at Department of Information and Communications Technology na magkaroon ng integrated vaccine tracker” Galvez noted.

Two senators previously urged the Duterte administration to release a COVID-19 tracker, saying it is important to monitor the progress of the country’s COVID vaccination program, especially since the country will loan billions of pesos for it.


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