Palace: Nothing spectacular about Sinovac vaccine but it’s proven safe

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang defended Monday the government’s seeming preference of the coronavirus vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech, saying that although there is “nothing spectacular” with it, it is “proven safe” and it will be the first vaccine to arrive in the country.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque claimed that the Philippines is having a hard time procuring western brands of COVID-19 vaccine as rich nations have already secured the majority of future supplies.

Roque was responding to Senator Panfilo Lacson’s question why concerned officials seemed to be “dribbling” or disregarding other vaccine brands and zeroing on buying CoronaVac, Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“There’s nothing spectacular about Sinovac other than it’s proven safe and efficient—91.5% (efficacy rate) in at least 3 jurisdictions that we know of,” Roque said.

“At maski kung tanungin ang mga eksperto, ang mga vaccinologist eh inactivated po iyan ibig sabihin natural. Ito po ay pinahinang virus, which are the traditional vaccines that we have known for the past 300 years,” he added.

In the same press briefing, the Palace officially announced the Philippines has secured 25 million doses of vaccine from Sinovac, a part of which is expected to arrive by February.

This is on top of the recently signed deals with AstraZeneca and the Indian-made Covovax vaccines.