Palace backs suggestion to allow seniors to take CoronaVac vaccine

Published March 18, 2021, 2:45 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang supported the recommendation to administer the Chinese-developed coronavirus vaccine CoronoVac to senior citizens, saying many countries were already doing the same.

(Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / FILE PHOTO)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said up to 9 million Filipino senior citizens may receive doses of such vaccine next month despite the shots being only recommended for healthy individuals aged 18 to 59.

In his Thursday presser, Roque said Malacañang was “very supportive” of the recommendation to use the vaccines created by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech on senior citizens.

“Very supportive po dahil alam natin na napakaraming bansa na sa daigdig ang gumagamit na ng Sinovac para sa mga senior citizens (We are very supportive of it because we know that there are already many countries that use the Sinovac vaccines on seniors),” he said.

Roque noted the earlier recommendation that limits the vaccine’s emergency use authorization (EUA) on healthy individuals aged 18 to 59. He said additional data from Sinovac might reverse this decision.

“I think steps will be taken to ask the local representative of Sinovac to present additional data to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) para mabago po ang EUA na in-issue (to change the EUA that was issued),” he said.

“Ang kailangan lang naman po ng FDA ay (What the FDA only needs anyway are) additional data,” he added.

In making the recommendation, Galvez said the CoronaVac vaccine has shown minimal adverse effects and was the only brand that provides the shortest interval time between the administration of the required two doses.

The country has received 600,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccines from the Chinese government on February 28. The vaccination drive of the government rolled out on March 1 for healthcare workers using the said vaccine despite its 50.4-percent efficacy rate for the said group of people.

Senior citizens are the second on the government’s priority list next to medical frontliners.