Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr to critics of Sinovac vaccine
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr responded to critics of Sinovac vaccine, saying that all vaccines underwent “rigorous” review by experts.
On Wednesday, Galvez rejected the calls of some sectors to stop the procurement of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine doses and to start prioritizing instead the purchase of Western brands that were “more effective” against the Delta COVID-19 variant.
Galvez assured that all COVID-19 vaccines in the country’s supply portfolio, a list of vaccine brands that were scrutinized by the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP), underwent a “rigorous” review by the country’s top doctors and vaccine specialists.
“We ensure that all the policies that we craft and implement are science-based and evidence-based. I will always consider the advice of our experts and not from people who do not want to listen to more prudent and deliberate decision-making,” Galvez emphasized.
Galvez’s remark came after Senator Franklin Drilon encouraged the national government over the weekend to veer away from procuring Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines and to prioritize getting more Western brands such as Pfizer, which, Drilon said, proved to be more effective against the more transmissible Delta COVID-19 variant.
Drilon lamented the national government’s preference on the “less effective” Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine compared to Pfizer vaccine.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), Sinovac vaccine yielded 65% to 91% efficacy rate based on clinical trials conducted in Indonesia, Turkey, and Brazil as of March 2021. Meanwhile, Pfizer vaccine had an efficacy rate of 95%.
This month alone, the Indonesian government stated that at least 10 doctors who received two doses of Sinovac vaccine have died after contracting COVID-19, raising questions on the efficiency of the said vaccine.
However, Galvez noted that Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine was 90% effective in preventing intensive care admissions and deaths in Uruguay. Galvez added Sinovac was also 94% effective in protecting healthcare workers in Indonesia.
“This shows that Sinovac is performing well and at par with Western-made vaccine brands. In addition, the China-made vaccine is being used in more than 28 countries around the world,” Galvez said.
Moreover, Galvez said that the Vaccine Expert Panel had discouraged the public from “concluding too early” on the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines against the Delta COVID-19 variant “as data gathering is still ongoing”.
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