Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr on Monday, May 24, 2021, reminded the public that all available vaccine brands in the country are safe and effective against severe disease and death brought about by COVID-19.
In a press briefing held in Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, Secretary Roque reiterated the national government’s and experts’ advice to all to not be particular with a COVID vaccine brand. “Ang pinakamabisang bakuna ay ang bakunang tinurok sa inyong braso,” stressed Secretary Roque, assuring that the current vaccine brands are not that different in terms of vaccine efficacy.
The Palace official said that the Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19, the AstraZeneca Vaccine is 70.4 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19 and 100 percent effective against severe COVID-19, while the Sputnik V vaccine is 91.6 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19 and 100 percent effective against moderate or severe COVID-19.
For Sinovac, Sec. Roque said that in early clinical trials conducted, the said Chinese brand has been shown to be 65 to 91 percent effective based on clinical trials in Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey. However, a new study conducted in Thailand shows that 99.49 percent of those who received the vaccine four weeks after their second dose developed antibody responses, while 66 percent developed immune responses three weeks after their first dose of the vaccine, said Roque.
“Samantala, sa Indonesia, base sa datos ng 120,000 healthcare workers na nakatanggap ng Sinovac sa pagitan ng Enero at Marso ngayong taon, 98 percent ang nagpakita na epektibo ang Sinovac para maiwasang mamatay at 96 percent naman po para maiwasan ma-ospital,” noted Roque.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Edsel Salvana of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital likewise stressed that all vaccines that have been granted an Emergency Use Authorization are very effective against severe disease, which he said is the most important outcome for the vaccines. Dr. Salvana once again underscored that from a scientific standpoint, the best vaccine that one can get is the one that is already available.
Also in the same press briefing, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said that the WHO is very encouraged with the vaccine rollout in the Philippines, where more than four million or 4,097,425 vaccines have been administered as of May 23, 2021.
Dr. Abeyasinghe added that even though the Philippines started its vaccination only in March this year, and even after experiencing challenges in accessing the volumes of vaccines needed in the country, the government’s COVID vaccination performance has been commendable.
On the inclusion of Chinese COVID vaccine brands in the WHO emergency use listing (EUL), Dr. Abeyasinghe said that with Sinopharm already listed as an EUL product, the WHO is now just completing the review of Sinovac vaccine, with the WHO just waiting for some additional information from the vaccine manufacturer before they reach a conclusion about the Sinovac vaccine as a potential EUL candidate.
Meanwhile, Roque mentioned that based on a seven-day average as of May 23, the Philippines’ daily rate of doses administered is now at 162,514. “Malaki na po ang tinaaas ng ating 7-Day Moving Average na nagrehistro ng 32,490 noong Marso a-trenta,” Roque noted.
The increase in the number of COVID vaccines doses administered in the country has put the Philippines at number 37 among 196 countries that have administered COVID-19 vaccines.
On reports of selling vaccines and offering vaccination slots for sale, Secretary Roque said that this is prohibited as no vaccine has received authorization for commercial use yet and are all just under emergency use authorization, while those who are reportedly selling their vaccination slots can also be prosecuted for doing so.
Roque also commented on the alleged reports that those vaccinated with Chinese brands will not be allowed to enter Saudi Arabia and the European Union (EU). “Wala pong basehan yung mga ganyang balita kasi kakasabi lang ni Dr. Rabi na sa partido po ng WHO ay sinasama naman po nila ang mga Chinese brands sa kanilang emergency use list. Sa katunayan nasa listahan na ang Sinopharm at mayroon lang hinihintay na document para po sa Sinovac. Hindi ko po maisip kung bakit hindi tatanggapin ng EU at iba pang mga bansa ang kahit anong bakuna na nasa listahan po ng WHO mismo,” Roque said. ### OPS-PCOO