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âSinovac effective vs severe COVID-19â
Assuming that the 50 percent efficacy rate is true, doctors have repeatedly explained that. That’s still a guarantee against serious illness or even death because of COVID-19 and that’s why it’s still OK as a protection (against the pandemic),” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
AFP/Wang Zhao

‘Sinovac effective vs severe COVID-19’

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines  —  Malacañang yesterday insisted that Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccines are effective against serious illnesses, after a Chinese official admitted that the China-made shots don’t have high protection rates.

“Assuming that the 50 percent efficacy rate is true, doctors have repeatedly explained that. That’s still a guarantee against serious illness or even death because of COVID-19 and that’s why it’s still OK as a protection (against the pandemic),” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

Gao Fu, director of China’s disease control center, has been quoted in earlier reports as saying that China is considering mixing different COVID-19 vaccines to address its low efficacy rate. Gao also said China is making adjustments in the dosage.

Despite the tight global vaccine supply, Roque assured the public that the Philippines would get the pandemic jabs it ordered.

“There is no problem with regard to the second dose of Sinovac because Sinovac guaranteed our supply,” Roque said.

Workers in A4 priority

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) yesterday identified 13 types of essential workers to be included in the A4 priority list of the government’s free COVID-19 vaccination program, expected to start in June.

Essential workers include those in:

•             commuter transport sector, including logistics

•             frontline government workers in justice (including judges, prosecutors and public attorneys), security, transport and social protection sectors

•             public and private wet and dry market; grocery, supermarkets and delivery services

•             manufacturers of food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products

•             food retail, including food service delivery

•             frontline government workers

•             frontline workers in financial services

•             teachers in medical and allied medical courses, including laboratory personnel

•             frontline workers in hotels and accommodation

•             priests, pastors and religious leaders

•             construction workers in government infrastructure projects

•             security guards in offices, agencies and organizations

•             overseas Filipino workers scheduled for deployment within two months.

“We looked through all the different economic sectors that have high levels of interaction with or exposure to the public, particularly those who cannot really maintain a bubble,” NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said.

Likewise, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire asked employers to start preparing a “masterlist” of essential workers under A4 priority who are eligible for vaccination.

Meanwhile, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director general Eric Domingo said there were no reports of blood clotting incidents among those inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines, citing a report of the National Adverse Events Following Immunization Committee (NAEFIC).

Country to country

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that the US will undertake “country to country” efforts in vaccine distribution, a move that will possibly favor US allies.

“You’re going to see a combination of things. COVAX is vitally important, but there are efforts that we will undertake country to country,” Blinken said.

The US loaned vaccines to Canada and Mexico, which the secretary said has immediate security and health implications for the being the US’s nearest neighbors. – Sheila Crisostomo, Pia Lee-Brago, Czeriza Valencia, Evelyn Macairan

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