Sinovac remains ‘efficacious’ against South African variant

Published March 2, 2021, 1:56 PM

by Dhel Nazario

With three local cases of the South African variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) confirmed on Monday to be in Pasay City, Sinovac’s ability to fight against this was raised.


“It’s still early to tell, kasi this is something new and we are still at the level of studying all the long-term effects and benefits of all the vaccines especially with the new variant,” Dr. John Victor De Gracia of the Pasay City General Hospital said when asked about Sinovac’s capability to fend off the new variant.

He also mentioned that the vaccine “can still have an effect, it is still efficacious with regard to your protection against in general, lahat ng variants ng coronavirus infection.”

These concerns were raised the same day a total of 100 healthcare workers of the hospital were going to receive their first jab of the controversial vaccine which was the subject of criticism everywhere due to its efficacy rate.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya was the first to receive the vaccine in order to boost vaccine confidence. Malaya said that 5,000 additional doses are set to be given to the hospital.

Spike in COVID-19 cases was recorded in the city in the past few days. Its City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) suspected the surge could have been from the more contagious United Kingdom (UK) variant of the disease and residents who got tested outside the city and did not inform their barangays.

So far, no connection has been established. In its latest tally as of 6:10 p.m. on March 1, the city logged a total of 519 active cases with 44 new cases. The city has not stated whether if the surge had something to do with the presence of the South African variant.

The Department of Health (DOH) said that of the six South African variant cases, three are local cases, two are returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), and one case is still being verified as to location.

The three local cases were reported as residents of Pasay City, and whose samples were collected between January 27 and February 13. Two of the local cases, a 61-year-old female and a 39-year-old male, are active cases being managed by Pasay City. The third local case, a 40-year-old male, has already recovered.