Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. stressed that the Palace acknowledges the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine and gives support to its use in healthy individuals and other eligible population.
On Monday, February 22, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Sinovac and suggested that the vaccine is not recommended for healthcare workers and the elderly.
Secretary Roque explained that the addition of the colatilla on the non-recommendation of Sinovac for healthcare workers stem from the clinical trial done in Brazil that involves healthcare workers. “Dito po sa mga hanay ng mga healthcare workers na exposed talaga sa mga pasyenteng may coronavirus, doon po lumabas na 51 percent ang efficacy rate ng Sinovac,” said Secretary Roque in a press briefing on February 24.
“Sinovac is the first and currently the only vaccine where the participants in the clinical trial were healthcare workers. Ito ang nagpapaliwanag kung bakit mas mababa ang efficacy rate results ng Sinovac kumpara sa ibang bakuna dahil kasama sa clinical trial ay ang mga healthcare workers ng Brazil na na-expose sa mga pasyenteng may COVID-19,” underscored Roque.
Sinovac Biotech’s General Manager Helen Yang, who was a resource person in the said press briefing, said that in clinical trials among healthy individuals, particularly in the clinical trial done in Turkey, Sinovac has shown a 91.25 percent efficacy rate. She added that the most common side effects reported related to Sinovac is muscle pain.
Yang said that Sinovac is currently in more than 10 countries already including Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Mexico, Columbia, several Latin American countries, and other Asian countries as well. And with the issuance of the EUA, Ms. Yang said that their company is now in the process of finalizing Customs procedures to proceed with the vaccine shipment.
She added that their company has been producing the vaccines since August and September last year in order to meet the global demands and to supply China’s own demand for the vaccine. Yang said that Sinovac has already produced over 100 million doses of the vaccine already.
Sinovac Biotech’s GM further revealed that the company normally spends around 10 to 15 percent of the firm’s turnover into research and development (R&D). Yang said that in 2019, Sinovac Biotech’s total turnover is 230 milllion dollars, of which 10 percent (over 20 million dollars) were invested into the company’s R&D.
Sec. Roque said that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is thankful to the government of China for coming to the aid of the Philippines with a donation of 600,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine, which is expected to arrive in the country in the coming days.
“I’d like to express the gratitude of the President not only to Sinovac but to the government of the Peoples Republic of China for once more coming to our assistance in our time of dire need. Thank you very much, and the Filipino people are a people that will never forget assistance given when we needed it the most,” Roque said.
The Palace official said that the President would personally like to welcome the arrival of the first delivery of the Sinovac vaccine to show his personal gratitude to China for its donation that will be the first COVID-19 vaccines that the Philippines will have for its people.
“Nagpapasalamat lang po ang Presidente dahil sa panahon ng pagsubok, Tsina na naman ang nag-deliver. … Sa pangalawang pagkakataon na nangangailangan tayo ng bakuna, ang unang nagbigay po sa atin Tsina. Hindi po masama na ipakita ang ating utang na loob,” Roque remarked.
On another matter, Roque thanked the leadership of both Congress and Senate for their immediate response and action with regard to the bill on the indemnity fund that will help hasten the process of vaccine procurement. Roque said that both chambers of Congress have already approved the bill and both legislative bodies decided that a bicameral committee report is no longer needed. # OPS-PCOO