Chinese envoy touts safety, efficacy of Sinovac vaccines donated to PH
MANILA, Philippines — China’s top diplomat in the Philippines touted the safety and efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by China-based Sinovac as Manila received 600,000 doses of the vaccine on Sunday which was donated by the Chinese government.
“I am glad to share such [a] significant moment with all of you in welcoming the arrival of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines in the Philippines. Sinovac vaccines have been inoculated in many countries and their safety and efficacy have been well tested,” said Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian during the arrival ceremony for the donated Sinovac vaccines.
The Chinese military transport aircraft carrying the vaccines landed at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City Sunday afternoon.
According to Huang, China gave vaccine assistance to 53 developing countries and is exporting vaccines to 27 countries.
“This has demonstrated China’s determination to fight against the pandemic in the spirit of solidarity and to build a community with a shared future for mankind,” he said.
Huang also expressed confidence that the Philippines, under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, “will overcome the pandemic at the earliest date.”
“Currently, the pandemic is still raging all over the world, and vaccines are the sharp weapon to win this battle,” the envoy added.
“I hope that the vaccines will help kick off the Philippines’ mass inoculation campaign to curb the pandemic and allow Filipinos to return to normal life at the earliest,” he added.
Sinovac’s vaccine was the third to secure an EUA from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Despite the EUA, the FDA earlier did not recommend its use on healthcare workers and the elderly, who are the top priority population of the government’s vaccination program.
FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said Sinovac’s efficacy rate ranged from 65.3% to 91.2%. However, he emphasized that its efficacy rate only stands at 50.4% among healthcare workers, which is not the best available vaccine for their use.
Sinovac’s efficacy rate varied from 50.4%, 65%, and 91.25% in trials in Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey.
The National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) eventually recommended the use of the vaccine on health workers. The NITAG is composed of experts tasked to help the health department reach responsible, evidence-based advice when it comes to vaccines and immunizations.
However, an association of doctors at the PGH insisted that the vaccine must first undergo an appraisal before it is administered to health care workers at the state-operated hospital, noting that it met sweeping disapproval from its residents and fellows.
Sinovac’s vaccine is the first batch of anti-Covid jabs to arrive in the country, with health workers on top of the government’s vaccine recipient list.
Should health workers decide to decline to be injected with the Sinovac vaccine, they can still avail of other vaccine brands, a member of the Department of Health-Technical Advisory Group earlier said.
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