Video courtesy of the Department of Health
MANILA — The Philippines' vaccine expert panel (VEP) has given its recommendation to the Food and Drug Administration on whether Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccines can be used by senior citizens or those 60 years old and above.
The Philippines has so far received 2.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines: 525,600 from UK's AstraZeneca and 2 million from China's Sinovac. While AstraZeneca is allowed for elderly use, Sinovac was not given the same recommendation based on its emergency use authorization because of the lack of clinical trial data.
Dr. Rontgene Solante, a member of the VEP and San Lazaro Hospital’s adult infectious diseases division chief, told reporters during a Department of Health briefing that they had to look back at Sinovac’s data as there are few AstraZeneca doses left.
The DOH said Monday that it is waiting for additional data from Sinovac that show that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for the elderly.
“We just finished the recommendation (for the Food and Drug Administration) the other day,” Solante said. “Finoforward na namin sa (We are forwarding it to the) Department of Health.”
But Solante said he could not reveal the recommendations for now and that it is best to wait for the DOH evaluation.
Solante explained that Sinovac’s Brazil clinical trials involving 8,000 participants only had 360 people aged 60 years and above.
“Hindi siya enough to make a conclusion na effective 'yung bakuna sa 60 years old,” he said.
"And that’s why if you remember the FDA, we did not recommend giving the Sinovac to more than 60 years old kasi nga walang data, absence of data.”
(It was not enough to make the conclusion that the vaccine is effective to those 60 years old and above. And that’s why if you remember the FDA, we did not recommend giving the Sinovac to more than 60 years old because of the absence of data.)
He said they looked back at the data and are now monitoring the use of Sinovac for senior citizens in other countries such as China, Indonesia and Turkey.
As of April 3, 795,320 people have received their first dose of vaccines. But with 70 million people targeted to reach herd immunity, many are criticizing the government’s slow rollout of vaccines.