Palace backs Sinovac COVID-19 jabs for elderly

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2021 06:24 PM

Palace backs Sinovac COVID-19 jabs for elderly 1
San Juan City launches its vaccination program with the Sinovac vaccine at the Filoil Flying V Arena on March 6, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — Malacañang said on Thursday it was "very supportive" of the option to give the country's 9 million senior citizens COVID-19 shots from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said on Wednesday he was considering the use of Sinovac for the elderly because it has shown "very limited" adverse effects and low wastage at just 2 vials.

"Very supportive po [d'yan ang Malacañang] dahil alam natin na napakadaming bansa na sa daigdig ang gumagamit ng Sinovac para sa senior citizens," said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.

The Food and Drug Administration, in issuing the emergency use authorization for Sinovac, did not recommend its use for health workers and the elderly.

"I think steps will be taken to ask the local representative of Sinovac to present additional data sa FDA para mabago po iyong EUA na inisyu ng FDA. Ang kailangan lang naman po ng FDA ay additional data," said Roque.

(I think steps will be taken to ask the local representative of Sinovac to present additional data sa FDA to change the EUA that FDA issued. Additional data is all that's needed.)

Authorities have secured a stockpile of 600,000 Sinovac shots so far, and 1.4 million more doses of this vaccine are expected in March.

Senior citizens will get COVID-19 shots after health workers, who are expected to complete the first round of their vaccination in April. The government will "most likely" finish vaccinations of the elderly in May, Galvez said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

Battling a spike in coronavirus infections, the Philippines aims to vaccinate 70 million people or two-thirds of its population this year.

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