HK study: Sinovac weaker vs omicron
Three doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine do not produce adequate levels of antibodies to fight the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, researchers from Hong Kong said in a statement on Thursday.
Their analysis showed the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was more effective, as a third dose of the shot administered after two doses of the same or China’s Sinovac vaccine provided “protective levels” of antibodies against Omicron.
These were the findings of a study conducted by researchers from the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, funded by the Health and Medical Research Fund and the government of Hong Kong.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have said their three-shot course was able to neutralize the new Omicron variant in a laboratory test.
The statement issued by the Hong Kong researchers did not say how many samples were used in the analysis. Sinovac did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sinovac’s CoronaVac and state-owned Sinopharm’s BBIBP-CorV vaccine are the two most-used vaccines in China and the leading COVID-19 vaccines exported by the country. Sinopharm also has a second vaccine in use in China. Hong Kong has been using the Sinovac and Pfizer-BioNTech shots. But people age 12 to 17 are eligible only for the Pfizer vaccine.
In the Philippines, CoronaVac was also widely used, particularly for the primary vaccination series.
Two out of five fully vaccinated Filipinos as of Dec. 19 were inoculated with CoronaVac, based on data from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).This translates to 17.5 million Filipinos fully vaccinated with CoronaVac, out of the total 43.5 million who have been fully inoculated as of Dec. 19.
About 11.9 million have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 5 million with Oxford-AstraZeneca, 4.4 million with Moderna and 3.6 million with Johnson & Johnson-Janssen. Other vaccine brands administered in the country are Sinopharm and Sputnik V.
According to the FDA, a total of 60,794 individuals have so far been given CoronaVac as a booster, or third dose, in the Philippines.
Booster shots were first administered in the country to health-care workers and other hospital front-liners in November. On Dec. 3, the government started administering booster shots in other fully vaccinated adults.
Under the guidelines of the Department of Health (DOH), homologous doses (same brand) will be available to those who received CoronaVac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna as their primary vaccines.
As for heterologous doses (mixed brand), the DOH said AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could be administered as booster shots or additional doses for those who were jabbed with Sinovac, Sputnik V and Janssen.
Pfizer and Moderna shots may also be given to those vaccinated with AstraZeneca; Moderna and AstraZeneca for those inoculated with Pfizer, and Pfizer and AstraZeneca for those who got Moderna shots.
CoronaVac may not be used as booster for those who received any of the other vaccines for their primary vaccine series.The Philippines has received more than 194 million vaccine doses as of Dec. 23., of which 56 million doses were CoronaVac. —Reports from Reuters and Inquirer Research
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