Vaccine panel rejects call for shorter interval of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine jabs

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2021 07:31 PM

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The COVID-19 vaccine expert panel on Thursday rejected a call to shorten the interval between the first and second Sinovac jabs, which make up the bulk of the Philippine coronavirus vaccine supply. 

A member of OCTA research group suggested the shorter interval to speed up the vaccination process, as the threat of the highly infectious Delta COVID-19 variant looms. 

But Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the vaccine expert panel, said CoronaVac, the vaccine candidate developed by Sinovac, triggers lower antibody response if the interval between doses is shortened to 14 days, instead of 28 days. 

"Ang data ngayon is showing, for most of these vaccines, mas mahaba-haba ‘yong interval, mas mataas 'yong antibody levels," she said in a Malacañang press briefing. 

(The data are showing that for most of these vaccines, the longer the interval, the higher the antibody levels. )

"Sa ngayon, hindi po, hindi natin puwedeng bilisan," she added. 

(For now, we cannot speed it up.)

Out of some 32.8 million COVID-19 shots that the Philippines has received, around 17.5 million doses are of the Sinovac product.

 The Philippines has the second-worst outbreak in Southeast Asia, with more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases and some 27,000 deaths. 

With only 6 percent of the Philippines' 109 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19, millions remain vulnerable to getting severely ill once infected. The government is aiming to fully immunize up to 70 million people before the year ends.

 – With a report from Reuters