PGH physicians call for review of ethics, cost of donated Sinovac shots
MANILA, Philippines — The donated vaccines from China biotech firm Sinovac, which will arrive this weekend, should still undergo evaluation of the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC), a group of doctors from Philippine General Hospital (PGH) said Saturday.
The HTAC, an advisory body, reviews the cost, ethics and community impact of an anti-Covid-19 drug.
In a statement, the PGH Physician Association said the vaccine program should “have been handled with more prudence and transparency.”
“The PGH PA stands firm that Sinovac, despite being the only vaccine available at hand, should undergo appraisal by the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) to facilitate individual informed decision-making before it is administered to healthcare workers. We trust that HTAC shall formulate these recommendations with judicious haste,” read the statement.
“As the national university hospital, PGH should set an example on how vaccination roll-out should be executed in the country. PGH should uphold the ideals of ethical and evidence-based medicine, for which it has been a bastion of. This should be achieved with constant information dissemination and internal consultation of all concerned parties,” it added.
The doctors’ group also urged “public vigilance” on the Covid-19 vaccination program of the government.
“Let us not lose sight of critical thinking especially with matters relating to our own health by monitoring updates and developments in the COVID-19 vaccination. Public vigilance is key,” it said.
The nation’s health department advisory group, composed of health experts from different sectors, said the Sinovac vaccines have yet to undergo HTAC assessment because these are donated and not procured by the government.
Sinovac was also recommended by the Inter Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases for health workers. It cited data that the China-made drug is “50 percent effective in preventing mild symptoms and 100 percent effective against moderate to severe symptoms.”