Every vaccine being developed against COVID-19 is expected to have different degrees of efficacy and safety, according to the Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).
Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, Executive Director of DOST-PCHRD, in his presentation during a Laging Handa press briefing, said that one brand of vaccine may work better for senior citizens while another brand may work better for children.
“The applicability will depend on the pre-clinical and clinical results of each vaccine, hence, the need to carefully evaluate the available data,” he said.
“The assessment of vaccine efficacy is complex for many diseases including COVID-19. In general, it is the role of experts, advisory committees, and regulatory bodies to assess data on efficacy of a particular vaccine, as there are scientific guidelines and recommendations being followed to ensure that the vaccine candidate meets certain qualifications,” he added.
Montoya explained that the vaccines are “considered safe to be administered in humans based on the safety evaluation studies as part of the clinical trials. Approval from the Philippine FDA is also a necessary requirement prior to administering COVID-19 vaccines.”
“Dapat po nating linawin na kapag sinabi nating efficacy, ito’y base sa tanong na: ito ba’y mabisa? (We should make it clear that when we say efficacy, this is based on the question: is this effective?),” Dr. Montoya said.
“Ano ba ang ating habol pag tayo ay nagbakuna? Dalawang bagay po iyan. Maaring ito ay magprevent ng infection o magprevent ng pagkakaroon ng severe disease o mga severe na sintomas (What are we after when we are getting immunized? There are two things. One is to prevent infection or getting a severe disease or severe symptoms),” he added.
When it comes to dosage, Montoya said that depending on the effectiveness of a vaccine in building a person’s immunity as determined during the clinical trials, several doses may be needed over a certain interval.
“Some vaccines would require a booster dose, in addition to the prime dose, to help increase the antibody titer of a person, thus, building a more protective and complete immunity,” Montoya said.
He assured the public that the best science and the best available evidence is the basis for determining which vaccines will be available to the Filipino people as determined by their safety and efficacy.