PH may not see COVID-19 surge despite use of Sinovac vaccine -- expert | Inquirer News

PH may not see COVID-19 surge despite use of Sinovac vaccine — expert

/ 02:00 PM June 25, 2021
Vaccine Express, a drive thru inoculation program by the Office of the Vice President and the City government of Manila at the CCP complex

(FILE) Delivery rider, motorcycle, and tricycle drivers receive Sinovac vaccine doses at the Vaccine Express, a drive-thru inoculation program by the Office of the Vice President and the Manila City government at the CCP Complex in Malate, Manila on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. Niño Jesus Orbeta/Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — The country may not experience a surge in COVID-19 cases despite many Filipinos receiving doses of the vaccine developed by the Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, a member of the Vaccine Expert Panel said Friday.

Dr. Rontgene Solante said the Philippines may not suffer the same fate as other countries that are reportedly battling a surge in infections despite the use of the Sinovac vaccine as other brands are also included in the local vaccine rollout.

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“I’m looking at it this way na we can achieve [protection], even if 60 to 70 percent [of the population ang] makuha natin, since hindi naman tayo purely Sinovac lang. Marami ring other platform,” he told an online media forum.

(I’m looking at it this way. We can achieve protection even if we vaccinate 60 to 70 percent of the population, since we are not using Sinovac vaccines alone. We also have vaccines that use other platforms.)

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“So I would say mataas ang kumpyansa ko na we don’t suffer or we don’t have surge of cases kapag nabakunahan na ang almost 70 percent of the population, with the mixed available vaccines, hindi lang Sinovac,” he added.

(So I would say I have high confidence that we won’t suffer or have a surge of cases when we vaccinate almost 70 percent of the population with the available vaccines that include not just Sinovac.)

Other vaccines currently included in the country’s inoculation rollout are those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, the Gamaleya Research Institute of Russia (Sputnik V), and AstraZeneca.

Media reports said Mongolia, Bahrain, and Seychelles are experiencing a surge in infections amid the use of the Chinese-made vaccines. Reports say the three countries have already vaccinated 50 to 68 percent of their populations.

In response, Solante noted that vaccines with lesser efficacy would require a higher percentage of the population to be vaccinated.

“We have to establish that [for] the higher efficacy vaccines, you need a certain percentage, you need less percentage for you to get herd immunity. For those with lower efficacy, still within 50 to 60 [percent efficacy], you need more people to be given the vaccine para wala talagang hawaan (so there will be no transmission),” he explained.

“So in that note, even a 50 to 60 percent [population coverage] and you are only using Sinovac, that would not be enough. You need more population, 80 to 90 percent for you to really get that efficacy kasi ‘yung efficacy nila is medyo mababa,” he added.

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Solante also noted that it is not just the surge in cases that should be considered in other countries that used China-made vaccines but also the status of the cases, whether they are mild or severe.

“My comment on this is they have surges in cases, but ang gusto natin malaman sa surges in cases, did these cases proceed to severe infection? Pwede kasing dumadami lang ang kaso pero wala namang namatay or nagdevelop ng severe ifnection. It’s still acceptable kasi ‘yun naman ang purpose ng bakuna,” he said, noting that China-made vaccines offer 50 to 60 protection against symptomatic COVID-19 based on efficacy trials.

(My comment on this is even if they have surge in cases, we want to know if the cases proceeded to severe infection. It is possible that there are many cases but no one dies or develops severe infection. It’s still acceptable because that is the purpose of vaccines.)

“And that’s the essence why even after [being] fully vaccinated, until such time na hindi mo mabakunahan lahat ng (that you have not covered the entire) population, we still follow the minimum public health protocols,” he said.

Solante meanwhile stressed that Sinovac and the other vaccine brands are effective against severe COVID-19 in view of more contagious COVID-19 variants.

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TAGS: Coronavac, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, covid-19 vaccination, COVID-19 Vaccine, Sinovac Biotech
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