HTAC: Sinovac jabs ‘not yet required’ to get health technology assessment
MANILA, Philippines — The government-based Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) has yet to require the China-donated Sinovac vaccine to undergo evaluation pursuant to the mandate of the Universal Health Care Act (Republic Act 11223).
HTAC — an independent advisory body created under the RA 11223 — reviews the cost, ethics, and community impact of drugs that will be introduced to the public. The council is also mandated to undertake technology appraisals by determining their clinical and economic values in the Philippine healthcare system, with the aim to improve overall health outcomes and ensure fairness, equity, and sustainability of coverage for all Filipino citizens.
“As per information from legal service of DOH because these are donations, and they are not procured using government funds, for now, for these particular set of donations, we do not yet require an HTA assessment,” Dr. Nina Castillo-Carandang said in an online press briefing of DOH, reacting to a query about requiring HTA for donated Sinovac jabs.
Carandang is a member of the Department of Health – National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (DOH-NITAG), which is composed of experts to help give the health department reach responsible, evidence-based advice when it comes to vaccines and immunizations.
She, however, clarified that HTAC is needed if the Sinovac vaccines or other brands of vaccines underwent government procurement.
“However, if we are going to procure any vaccines for that matter then we need health technology assessment,” Carandang, a professor at the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University of the Philippines Manila – College of Medicine, said.
Earlier, the government’s task force on curbing infectious diseases approved the recommendation to allow the Sinovac vaccine to be used for mass immunization for health care workers. The recommendation will still be presented for President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval.
The experts said the vaccines from China “will be beneficial for the healthcare workers,” citing data that it is 100 percent effective against moderate to severe symptoms of Covid-19.
The initial batch of Sinovac shots will arrive in Manila over the weekend, authorities said.
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