Use of China’s Sinovac vaccine should continue – expert

Published June 19, 2021, 1:24 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The country’s vaccine expert panel (VEP) is not recommending to put on hold the use of Sinovac vaccine despite Indonesia’s experience that its more than 350 medical workers fully vaccinated with the China-made jab have caught coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


VEP chair Dr. Nina Gloriani noted that CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech, was included in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL), which means that it met global standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing

She replied in the negative when asked by TeleRadyo if the use of the Sinovac vaccine should be stopped.

“Ang importante dito sa bakuna na ito ay maibigay ng dalawang doses in the short period of time to cover as many people. Importante po yun. Mabilisan, marami na mabakunahan, yun ang importante para macurb ito para ma-reduce ang transmission (The important thing about this vaccine is that it should be given in two doses in a short period of time to cover as many people. That is important. Fast, many should be vaccinated, that’s what’s important to curb this and reduce the transmission),” Gloriani said over ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo on Saturday, June 19.

Gloria said the Indonesia experience should be further looked into, even as she noted that the presence of COVID-19 variants and the supposed “complacency” of the people, including health workers may have contributed to the spread of coronavirus infection in Indonesia.

“Balik tayo na naman sa basics natin na sinasabi kasi ang pagbabakuna ay isa lamang sa solusyon. At sinabi natin na hindi lahat ng bakuna magbibigay ng 100 [percent] protection against symptomatic form. Pwedeng magka-mild, magka-moderate. Dito sa Indonesia, ang mas marami ay mild although mayroon din syempreng naospital..yung mga may comorbidities yung may mas edad (Let’s go back to the basics and we are saying that vaccination is one of the solutions. And we said that not all vaccines can provide 100 [percent] protection against symptomatic form. It can be mild, moderate. In Indonesia, the majority are mild although there are also hospitalizations..those with comorbidities and are older),” she said.

“Kaya tumaas na naman ang kaso dahil duon sa relaxation, complacency so hindi po bakuna lamang po (So the case increased again because of relaxation, complacency so it’s not just the vaccine),” she pointed out.

She explained that of the four variants of concern, the Delta variant which was first detected in India “is more problematic because it is highly transmissible” and has high resistance to vaccines.

Indonesian health authorities reported that more than 350 doctors and medical workers got coronavirus infection despite being vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine. They reported that most of the workers were asymptomatic and self-isolating at home, while dozens were hospitalized.

Gloriani said Indonesia, a Muslim country, preferred Sinovac vaccine because it is only vaccine that is halal.

“Importante na maintindihan ng tao na kailangan nyo rin ng two doses at hindi pa mataas ang immunization sa indonesia, halos pareho ang tayo siguro wala pang four to five percent ang kanilang immunization coverage. hindi pa tayo, or anybody for that matter na ganun ang immunization coverage ay pwede nang mag relax (It is important for people to understand that they need two doses and immunization is not yet high in Indonesia, we are almost the same maybe they have not achieved four to five percent immunization coverage. We, or anybody for that matter having that that kind of immunization coverage can relax),” she said.

“Tuloy pa rin po ang mga minimum public health precautions. Na-recognize din nila na nakatulong, nakacontribute dun sa pagtaas ng kaso ‘yung complacency…May [pandemic] fatigue ka na eh, llang buwan na, more than a year, gusto mo na lang iaalis mga balot balot na yan, that wlll not work, kasi hindi pa protektado ang marami sa populasyon (Minimum public health precautions should be continued. They recognised that complacency contributed to the surge in cases. You have already pandemic fatigue, many months, more than a year passed, you want to get rid of that cover, that will not work, because majority of the population is not yet protected),” she added.