Vaccine expert panel OKs use of Sinovac COVID-19 vax on seniors
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s vaccine expert panel has recommended the use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China-based Sinovac on the elderly.
Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) vaccine development expert panel, said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be releasing its decision on the matter “soon.”
“Ang alam ko po maglalabas na rin soon ang FDA ng announcement about this. Ang vaccine experts po ay nakapag-rekomenda na na pwede siyang gamitin sa senior citizens,” Gloriani said during the Laging Handa briefing on Wednesday.
(From what I know, the FDA will release an announcement on this soon. The vaccine experts have already recommended its use for senior citizens.)
“May kino-consolidate na lamang pong datos si [FDA Director-General Eric] Domingo and I think he will eventually announce it. Kausap ko siya kanina,” she added.
(FDA Director-General Eric Domingo is just consolidating some data and I think he will eventually announce it. I talked to him earlier.)
When an emergency use authorization was issued to Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine last February, the FDA recommended against administering it on senior citizens due to a lack of concrete studies.
But the vaccine expert panel made the recommendation in light of the shortage of AstraZeneca vaccine doses in the country and delays in the delivery of more doses.
The government has been administering AstraZeneca’s jab to the elderly in the vaccination rollout.
“Na-evaluate na namin siya before, we looked at the safety profile, ito we’re just talking about the seniors. Maganda ang kanyang safety profile. Mild to moderate ang mga signs and symptoms, ito ay base sa pag-aaral sa Brazil, although kakaunti yung mga seniors na nasama do’n sa study, around 400,” Gloriani said.
(We’ve evaluated it before, we looked at the safety profile, we’re talking about the seniors. It has a good safety profile. The signs and symptoms are mild to moderate, this is based on the study in Brazil, although only around 400 seniors participated.)
She added that a similar study was conducted in China, where the 422 seniors who participated also only experienced mild to moderate side effects.
These side effects include pain in the injected arm as well as headaches lasting for about two days, according to Gloriani.
“Ang pinaka naging issue noon ay yung efficacy niya na medyo mababa kasi nga kulang pa po yung taong nag-participate sa trial, pero ang maganda doon sa datos na nakita namin ay nakakaprotekta din siya sa mga matatanda, na hindi sila magkaroon ng severe COVID,” she explained.
(What was the main issue before was the efficacy because the number of participants were not that many, but what’s good about the data that we saw is that the vaccine can provide protection to the elderly, they will be protected from getting severe COVID.)
She noted that China and Indonesia have already started administering Sinovac’s vaccine to their older population.
Gloriani, 67, said she herself has already been vaccinated with Sinovac’s vaccine after signing a waiver.
“Ako, senior citizen, I’m 67. I’ve had my Sinovac vaccine one month ago, naka-dalawang doses na po ako. So may waiver lang po ang ating mga senior citizens,” she said.
(I’m a senior citizen. I’m 67. I’ve had my Sinovac vaccine one month ago, I already received my two doses. Senior citizens will have to sign a waiver.)
“I do not know if FDA may remove that kasi po nasa pandemya tayo ngayon, at hindi po tayo pwedeng mag-delay dahil yung bakuna na iniintay natin ay hindi pa dumadating,” she added.
(I do not know if the FDA may remove that because we’re in a pandemic right now and we can’t delay the vaccination just because the vaccine doses we are waiting for have yet to arrive.)
According to Gloriani, she only felt pain in her injected arm, which she noted did not last for a long time.
“Other than that wala naman po akong naramdaman [Aside from that, I don’t feel anything else],” she said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.