DOH urged to cancel Sinovac jabs purchase over low efficacy rate
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan on Wednesday called on the Department of Health (DOH) to cancel the purchase of a vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech.
This comes after a Brazil trial found that the said vaccine was just 50.4 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infections of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the potentially deadly respiratory ailment Covid-19.
“Sinovac, with just over 50% efficacy is 6 times more expensive than AztraZeneca which in contrast shows 70% efficacy,” Pangilinan said over Twitter.
Sinovac, with just over 50% efficacy is 6 times more expensive than Aztrazeneca which in contrast shows 70% efficacy. Sinovac is more expensive yet having almost 20% lower efficacy. Given these latest findings, we call on the DoH to cancel the purchase of Sinovac vaccines. pic.twitter.com/K2lr5xde4lFEATURED STORIES
— Kiko Pangilinan (@kikopangilinan) January 13, 2021
“Sinovac is more expensive yet having almost 20% lower efficacy. Given these latest findings, we call on the DoH to cancel the purchase of Sinovac vaccines,” he added.
On Monday, the Philippine government announced it has already secured 25 million doses of Sinovac’s vaccine – 50,000 of which will arrive by February.
“Why will we pay for a more expensive vaccine that has the lowest efficacy?” Pangilinan said in a separate statement.
The senator stressed that the country should procure vaccines on the basis of both higher efficacy and lower cost.
He then noted that the efficacy of vaccines developed by Moderna (95 percent), Pfizer (95 percent), Gamaleya (92 percent), and AstraZeneca (70 percent) are higher than the one made by Sinovac.
“Bakit natin bibigyan ng kaduda-dudang bakuna ang ating mga mamamayan? Nagsasayang lamang tayo ng pondo sa pagbili ng Sinovac dahil marami pang bakuna na pagpipiliian. Malinaw naman na ito ang pinakamahal at hindi pinaka-epektibo. Ano ba ang gustong gawin ng pamahalaan?” Pangilinan continued.
(Why will we give the public a questionable vaccine. We are wasting public funds in purchasing Sinovac’s vaccine when there are other options. It’s clear that Sinovac’s vaccine is the priciest with the lowest efficacy. What is the government planning to do?)
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. defended the government’s decision to procure Sinovac vaccine, saying it’s cheaper than the jabs made by US pharmaceutical firms.
Based on estimates from the office of Senate committee on finance chair Sonny Angara, Sinovac’s vaccine is the second-most-expensive with a price tag of P3,629.50 for two doses per patient. The most expensive is Moderna’s vaccine, which costs around P3,904 to P4,504 for two doses per person.
Galvez, however, said the figures from the senator’s office are not accurate.
“Mali po ‘yung information ng ating mahal na senator kasi po ‘yung Sinovac, ka-presyo niya po ang Novovax, ka-presyo niya po ang Gamaleya, ka-presyo niya po ang ibang vaccines,” Galvez said in a televised briefing.
(The information of the senator is wrong because Sinovac has the same price as Novovax, Gamaleya, and other vaccines.)
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