Senators puzzled by FDA’s EUA to Sinovac vis-à-vis advice on health workers, seniors
MANILA, Philippines — At least two senators on Monday questioned why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized China’s Sinovac vaccine for emergency use in the country but did not recommend its use for the vaccination of healthcare workers and senior citizens.
This “raises more questions and issues than what the [National Task Force against Covid-19] is already busy grappling with,” Lacson said in a message to reporters when sought for comment.
The FDA recently approved the emergency use authorization (EUA) of the vaccine developed by China-based drugmaker Sinovac, the third vaccine maker to receive such an authorization in the Philippines.
However, the FDA said it does not recommend it to be administered on healthcare workers and senior citizens, who are the top priority population for the government’s vaccination program.
“For lack of a better analogy, it’s like a chef who refuses to eat the food that he cooked and which his restaurant-employer serves to the customers,” Lacson said.
“For, how can a vaccinator convince the person that he is about to inoculate if he/she himself/herself is being discouraged by the government to use the Sinovac vaccine?” he added.
Senator Francis Pangilinan is also puzzled by the FDA’s pronouncement.
“[W]hat kind of government policy is this? Is it science-based to say that a vaccine isn’t recommended for health workers and yet can be recommended for police and military personnel?” Pangilinan said in a separate message.
FDA Director-General Eric Domingo explained that the efficacy rate of Sinovac’s vaccine on healthcare workers stands at 50.4%, which makes it not the best vaccine to be given to medical frontliners who are exposed to Covid-19 patients.
The Sinovac vaccine should also only be administered to clinically healthy individuals aged 18 to 59 years old, making it not suitable for senior citizens.
Sinovac’s efficacy rate varied from 50.4%, 65%, and 91.25% in trials in Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey.
The Philippines is expected to receive an initial 600,000 Sinovac vaccine doses donated by the Chinese government.
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