Experts ask public not to prejudge efficacy of China-made COVID-19 vaccines

Marje Pelayo   •   January 18, 2021   •   217

MANILA, Philippines — Many Filipinos are skeptical when it comes to the efficacy of the brand of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that the national government wishes to procure.

One reason is because the brand is from China.

Experts from the Healthcare Professional Alliance against COVID-19 (HPAAC), however, call on the public not to prejudge the ability of the Chinese vaccine Sinovac especially that none has tried the vaccine yet.

According to Dr. Antonio Dans it is too early to conclude on what the vaccine can do at this stage.

“Ang problema sa Sinovac wala pa syang publication meron nang usapan, kailangan antayin natin publication kasi alam naman natin na para mapublish mo yang report ninyo, inaaral yan ng maraming scientist para siguraduhin na wala tayong sinabing mali tungkol sa mga resulta,” he said.

“Hintayin natin at huwag tayong maghusga kaagad kung maganda o pangit ang hirap sabihin nyan wala pang resultang lumalabas,” he added,

Similarly, Dr. Aileen Espina of the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians believes that until research about the vaccines is completed, no one can tell which of them is highly effective against coronavirus disease.

“Ang lahat po ng bakuna na gagamitin natin ay dadaan sa isang proseso, so sa ngayon po hanggat hindi kumpleto ang datos sa iba’t-ibang mga bakuna na pinaguusapan sa media at sa mga kanto at mga huntahan dyan, We are asking po na let us withold judgement hintayin po natin na makumpleto ang datos

For its part, the Department of Health (DOH) expresses support to the experts while it assures the public that all processes concerning the vaccines will be transparent. 

“Ang DOH po kasama ang buong vaccine cluster ay patuloy na makikipag tulungan sa HPAAC at sa buong scientific community upang pangalagaan ang publiko,” assured DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“Ang siyentipiko, makatao at transparent na proseso sa pagpili at pagbili ng bakuna. Amin ding sisiguruhin na makakarating ang bakuna sa lahat ng mangangailangan nito,” she concluded. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

Health chief Duque won’t be inoculated with Sinovac COVID-19 jab – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will not be receiving the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

“FTD (Francisco T Duque III) will not be vaccinated with SINOVAC as EUA provisions exclude 60 and above,” the DOH said in a message to reporters.

“He also underscores that we will follow the prioritization framework, and will ensure that limited doses will go to the HCWs first,” it added.

Duque, 64, earlier said he is willing to receive Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine but the age bracket recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might become an issue.

The FDA said the Sinovac jabs are only recommended to be administered to people aged 18 to 59 years old as it showed a higher efficacy rate in the said group based on clinical trials conducted in Indonesia and Turkey.

Duque led the rollout of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive for healthcare workers and other frontliners on Monday after the donated 600,000 Sinovac vaccines from China arrived in the country on Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Five report feeling unwell after getting Sinovac jab; doctor says mild side effects ‘normal’

Robie de Guzman   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Five people were reported feeling unwell after being administered with Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) on the first day of the vaccination program rollout.

In Correspondent Dante Amento’s report on UNTV’s Ito Ang Balita, five people were sent to the emergency room for monitoring and observation.

One of them was a male staff of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office who experienced a dizzy spell a few minutes after receiving the vaccine.

A female vaccinee experienced rashes, while two others reported having a high blood pressure and palpitations.

Of the cases, two have been discharged.

According to VMMC director, Dr. Dominador Chiong, the reported symptoms can be considered mild side effects if these are proven to have been caused by the COVID-19 vaccine.

They are also not discounting the possibility that the symptoms may have also been caused by other factors such as anxiety about the vaccination and fatigue, as well as the heat.

“Pwedeng mangyari po yun talaga just like in any other medication,” Chiong said.

The Philippine government on Monday formally rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination program to several hospitals in Metro Manila after receiving the donated vaccine doses from China on Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Duterte plans to visit China to personally thank President Xi for COVID vaccine donations

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is planning to visit China to personally thank President Xi Jinping for donating 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines.

“I’d like to just say that towards the — maybe at the end of the year, when everything has settled down — I intend to make a short visit to China to just shake hands with President Xi Jinping and to personally thank him for this donation,” he said.

President Duterte noted China’s gesture of delivering the vaccine through its government military aircraft unlike other countries who needed to pick up the supply from China.

“I would like to just add that China has donated several vaccines to several countries. But it is only the donation made to the Philippines that was carried by a Chinese government plane. Iyong iba kinukuha doon sa China. Dito, hinatid sa atin,” he said.

The Chief Executive said he may push a trip to China by the end of the year.

Before heading to Beijing, the President said he wanted to visit Xiamen to see the school building that was built in honor of his late mother, Soledad.

“Maybe I’ll go to Xiamen. There’s a school built to honor my mother. You know, my mother was one of the first educators of the Chinese school in Davao,” he said.

Duterte insisted during Sunday’s arrival of China’s Sinovac vaccine that China has not requested anything in return for the donated vaccine adding that the donation is a “gesture of friendship and solidarity” between the two countries. 

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