Notwithstanding recommendation from experts, the government is seriously considering administering China-made vaccines to the elders, amid limited available supply of COVID-19 doses.
At the Laging Handa briefing, Dr. Nina Gloriani, in her capacity as head of the government-formed Vaccine Development Experts Panel (VEDP), has recommended the use of Chinese COVID-19 vaccine Sinovac on senior citizens situated in the National Capital Region, where local government units were compelled to defer inoculation due to lack of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine supply.
“We expect an announcement from FDA [Food and Drugs Administration] about this, nakapaglabas na kami ng rekomendasyon na puwede siya sa seniors,” said Gloriani, citing clinical trials of Sinovac in Brazil and China where elderly participants showed mild to moderate side effects after receiving the injectable doses.
“Maganda ang safety profile niya. Mild to moderate ang side effects. FDA Director General [Eric] Domingo is collating data and he will eventually announce it,” Gloriani added.
Among the “mild to moderate side effects” that Gloriani referred to include pain on the injected arm for about two days.
Interestingly, the government earlier granted emergency use authorization to Sinovac but only for clinically healthy individuals aged 18 to 59 years old.
While Sinovac’s efficacy on the elderly is a bit lower due to a low number of elderly participants in the clinical trials, Gloriani said getting the Sinovac shot provides more benefits than harm.
“Naging issue ang efficacy na medyo mababa kasi kulang pa ang nag participate sa trial, pero maganda iyong datos sa matatanda na hindi sila magkakaroon ng severe COVID-19,” averred Gloriani, issuing a public call for elders to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they could.