Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine safe for kids aged 6-17---experts


China's Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children six to 17-years-old, health experts said on Thursday, March 24.

The two doses of the said vaccine was found to be safe for children "with only mild and transient local and systemic side effects," said Dr. Liza Gonzales, a member of the Philippine Pediatric Society during a forum hosted by the Department of Health (DOH).

This was also seconded by Department of Science and Technology's (DOST) Vaccine Expert Panel (DOST-VEP) head Dr. Nina Gloriani.

Gloriani said that the Sinovac vaccine has demonstrated high "vaccine effectiveness" like other vaccine brands such as the Pfizer-BioNTech in children 6 to 17-years-old during a study conducted in Chile.

"So overall, this result suggests that primary immunization regimen with Pfizer and Coronavac provide a high level of protection against Covid-19, higher against severe disease, hospitalization, ICU admission, and death" among the said age group, said Gloriani.

Although there were data that suggest that this vaccine is also effective for children aged three to five, Sinovac must submit first the necessary information before the Philippines' expert panel can submit a recommendation for its use, said Gloriani.

"If they provide us data, kasi continuing naman yung ibang clinical trial Phase 3 dito sa age group na ito, if they provide sufficient data na effective din ito dito sa age group na ito (because the other Phase 3 clinical trials for this age group still continue, if they provide sufficient data that it is also effective here in this age group), that could be amended," she said.

Last March 14, the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the vaccine’s use for individuals aged six and above. Previously, it was only allowed for adult individuals.

The Sinovac vaccine for children also has the same dosage as the one used for adults.

The DOH is currently crafting guidelines for the use of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine in the pediatric population.

“We still need to wait for the DOH guidelines for the rollout of the Sinovac pediatric vaccines because these are still currently developed by other expert groups, including the pediatricians,” said Gonzales.

The other vaccine brands that were allowed for pediatric use in the Philippines were Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.