FDA chief: PH seniors can’t take Sinovac jabs, unless enough proof shown otherwise

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2021 12:44 AM | Updated as of Mar 19 2021 01:16 AM

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MANILA—The Philippine Food and Drug Administration will only change its advisory not to use Sinovac vaccines on senior citizens, its director general said Thursday, if evidence shows that the China-based COVID-19 jabs have been used on people 59 years old or older.

This developed after the country's vaccine czar expressed his intention to use Sinovac's CoronaVac on senior citizens when their vaccination begins next month.

"As of now kasi, 'yung data submitted to us, the clinical trial Phase 3, talagang 18- to 59-year-olds lamang," FDA director-general Eric Domingo told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

"Hindi naman natin sinasabi na makakasama siya sa matanda. Kaya lang, di natin alam efficacy niya, di natin alam safety profile sa older individuals."

Domingo added that the emergency use authorization on Sinovac's COVID-19 shots can be expanded once enough evidence has been presented that they can be used for senior citizens.

He earlier noted that Phase 3 clinical trials done in different countries showed that Sinovac's vaccine has an efficacy rate of 65.3% based on trials in Indonesia, and up to 91.2% based on trials done in Turkey. 

The trials only involved adults aged 18 to 59 years.

But according to vaccine czar and National COVID-19 Task Force chief implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. on Wednesday, he wants to avoid "wastage" of Sinovac vaccines.

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

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