WHO’s approval on Sinovac vaccine an ‘advantage’ for PH—DOH

Published June 2, 2021, 3:07 PM

by Analou de Vera

In this file photograph taken on March 1, 2021, a health worker holds up a vial of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine during the first phase of vaccinations for health workers at a hospital in Manila. (Ted ALJIBE / AFP/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The World Health Organization (WHO)’s approval on the COVID-19 vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech will serve as an “advantage” for the Philippines as majority of the vaccines here are from that brand, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

“It is going to be something of an advantage kasi iyon pong mga ginagamit natin dito, mostly are Sinovac (because the vaccines that we use here are mostly Sinovac),” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire during an online town hall event on Wednesday, June 2.

Securing an emergency use listing (EUL) from the WHO served as a validation that the China-made vaccine is effective against COVID-19, said Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, a member of the DOH-Technical Advisory Group (TAG).

“Ang EUL, we need to view it as something like a quality seal na ibig sabihin na pumasa sya doon sa pagsusuri ng WHO (The EUL, we need to view it as something like a quality seal which means that it passed the WHO’s evaluation) ,” said Ong-Lim.

“Kumbaga na verify ng WHO na itong produkto na ito ay ginagawa ayon sa accepted standards at yung bisa at safety na kine-claim ay validated (It was verified by the WHO that this product is made according to accepted standards and that its claim on effectiveness and safety were validated),” she added.

Vergeire said that they are also expecting that other countries will honor the “mutual recognition agreement” after the WHO approved for emergency use the Sinovac.

“There is this mutual recognition agreement for regulatory processes, wherein once a vaccine is included in the WHO-EUL, it is recognized across countries already,” she said.

On June 1, the WHO said that it validated the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use, ensuring that “it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing.”

“Vaccine efficacy results showed that the vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51 percent of those vaccinated and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in 100 percent of the studied population,” the WHO said.