Sinovac’s 50% efficacy meets WHO minimum standards — DOST

Marje Pelayo   •   December 24, 2020   •   692

MANILA, Philippines — The national government assures that experts are carefully studying the available efficacy and safety data of every developed vaccine specifically against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from any manufacturer.

This was the response from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Philippine Council for Health Research and Development regarding reports that the COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech is only 50% effective based on the late-stage trial result done by the Butantan Institute in Brazil.

This is way below the efficacy rate of the vaccines developed in the United States and the United Kingdom.

“Hindi pa natin nakikita ang data. It has to be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration kahit na lumalabas sa press, ganito ang kanilang efficacy,” explained DOST -PCHRD Executive Director Jaime Montoya.

“We have to verify those data. So until such time na na-review natin ang data, we cannot make any conclusions,” he said.

Montoya stressed, however, that based on the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), 50% efficacy is still acceptable in terms of minimum standards of a vaccine.

He added that should vaccine developers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna submit their application for use in the Philippines, it is likely that they would be the first to get emergency use authorization from the government.

This is if the negotiation on vaccine procurement would be finalized soon with the vaccine suppliers.

“Dalawa pa lang po ang naii-issuehan ng EUA ng isang stringent regulatory authority. Meaning the US, iyan ang Pfizer-BioNTech at Moderna. So if they’re going to pursue their application here in the Philippines, for the EUA also in the Philippines, then malamang sila ang mauuna na magiging available,” Montoya said.

As of this writing, DOST-PCHRD said there is no report yet that the new strain of COVID-19 affecting the UK has entered the country.

Currently, they are conducting random surveillance among COVID-19 positive tests to detect any trace of the new strain in the Philippines.

“Tayo po ay mino-monitor natin randomly ang mga viruses na nakikita natin sa Pilipinas with SARS-COV-2 through the Philippine Genome Center,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PH expects to receive 190K doses of Sputnik V vaccine this September – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Around 190,000 doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine (component 2) manufactured by Russian firm Gamaleya Research Institute are expected to arrive in the country this month, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Friday.

Galvez said the additional vaccine supply may be delivered by the weekend or early next week.

“This shipment of Sputnik V vaccines shall be used for the second dose. After this, we will be receiving the single-shot Sputnik V Light as we move forward with our vaccine rollout,” he said.

Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19, eased concerns among those who have already received their first dose of Sputnik V.

“As per our vaccine experts from the Department of Health, the gap between first and second doses of Sputnik V can be as long as six months, so no need to worry because the vaccines are arriving soon,” Galvez explained.

This month, the country expects to receive the first batch of government-procured Sputnik V Light vaccines consisting of 1 million doses.

“The Sputnik V Light is more efficient because we will be able to protect more people faster. This would eliminate the problem wherein people fail to return for their second dose,” Galvez noted.

As of September 15, the country has received a total of 57,547,610 vaccine doses from various manufacturers, of which over 36 million doses were procured by the national government.

The country has also breached the 40 million mark in terms of COVID-19 jabs administered, with 40,030,388 shots given as of September 15. Of this number, 17,675,959 were fully vaccinated and 22,354,429 received their first dose.

Over 753K additional doses of Pfizer vaccine arrive in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines on Wednesday night received a total of 753,480 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the US-based firm Pfizer, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

A part of the shipment, around 51,480 doses were first unloaded in Cebu while the rest arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport around 9 p.m.

The newly delivered vaccine shots will be transported to a storage facility in Marikina City.

The NTF said 51,480 of these doses will be distributed to Davao City on Thursday.

The Philippines has so far received around 56.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from various manufacturers since February.

WHO reiterates need to address vaccine inequity to end COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 15, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) continues its call to address vaccine inequity in hopes to end the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his speech on Tuesday evening (September 14), lamented that of the more than 5.7 billion doses that have been administered globally, only less than 2% have been administered in Africa.

He said that Africa has been left behind when it comes to vaccine rollout.

“There are countries with less than two percent vaccination coverage, most of them in Africa, who are not even getting their first and second dose,” Tedros said.

Dr. Tedros said the lack of vaccines in Africa has a global impact that should be addressed.

“The longer vaccine inequity persists, the more the virus will keep circulating and changing, the longer the social and economic disruption will continue, and the higher the chances that more variants will emerge that render vaccines less effective,” he said.

The WHO calls on vaccine manufacturers to prioritize COVAX and the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVAT). It also calls on countries that have already achieved high coverage levels to swap their near-term vaccine deliveries with COVAX and AVAT.

The organization’s global targets are to support every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population by the end of this year, and 70% of the world’s population by the middle of next year. AAC

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