Expert backs Pfizer jabs for students, Sinovac for essential workers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2021 10:13 AM

A health worker shows the vial of the Comirnaty COVID19 vaccine of Pfizer BioNTech during its first rollout inside the Makati Medical Center on May 12, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A public health expert on Wednesday proposed that government allocate Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines to high school students and Sinovac jabs to essential workers.

Pfizer and Moderna are preparing to seek emergency use authorizations for their COVID-19 vaccines to be administered to children, authorities earlier said.

These could be used to enable the resumption of face-to-face classes, said Dr. Tony Leachon, former adviser of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.

"Plan for Pfizer’s arrival sometime in September with Moderna. You can use Pfizer and Moderna for the schools and other elderly citizens," he told ANC's Headstart.

"Also for the Indian variant, there will be only 3 vaccines addressing the Indian variant--Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca."

Meantime, the Philippines is set to receive another 500,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine this week and it still has an abundance of supply in the warehouse, Leachon said.

"Since you're reopening the economy, use the Sinovac for essential workers. Anyway it has been proven in Indonesia and other studies na maganda rin ang Sinovac (that its good) just like Astra," he said. 

"So that maubos natin ang inventory kasi ang shelf life niyan maikli lang eh."

(So we can use up our inventory because it has a short shelf life.)

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Leachon said he proposed earlier that government and the private sector swap their AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine allocations for faster rollout.

He made the recommendation after government said millions of vaccine shots were near expiration. 

"No offense kay Secretary Harry Roque, alam ko naman po ang guidelines na A1 to A3 (health workers, senior citizens, persons with comorbidities) lang based on COVAX pero I think marami sa private sector din na gusto ng AstraZeneca...Swap lang kayo para walang wastage," he said.

(No offense to Secretary Harry Roque, I know that under COVAX guidelines it should go to A1 to A3 but I think many in the private sector also want AstraZeneca...Just swap to prevent wastage.)

The Philippines aims to inoculate 50 to 70 million of its population by end of year to achieve herd immunity, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez earlier said.

As of Monday, the country has administered 3,001,875 COVID-19 jabs since it began its inoculation program in March, Galvez added.