WHO approval of Sinovac COVID-19 jab seen as 'advantage' for Philippines

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
WHO approval of Sinovac COVID-19 jab seen as 'advantage' for Philippines
In this file photo taken on February 23, 2021, vials of the CoronaVac vaccine, developed by China's Sinovac firm, are displayed in Bangkok, as the first batch of vaccines to battle the Covid-19 coronavirus arrive in the kingdom.
AFP / Lillian Suwanrumpha

MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization’s approval of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech is an “advantage” for the Philippines, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

Sinovac’s two-dose jab CoronaVac accounts for the bulk of the country’s vaccine supply. Since February, the Philippines has received 5.5 million CoronaVac doses, of which one million were donated by the Chinese government.

WHO’s emergency use listing (EUL) gives countries assurance that the vaccine has met international standards, infectious disease specialist Anna Ong-Lim said.

“We need to view the EUL as something like a quality seal, which means it (vaccine) has passed the evaluation of WHO based on their independent review of the data submitted by the manufacturer,” Ong Lim, also a member of the DOH Technical Advisory Group, said during a town hall forum.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the WHO’s green light can pave the way for more countries to use the vaccine.

“A vaccine included in the WHO’s listing is recognized across countries and its recognition from these countries will be faster,” Vergeire said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“It’s going to be something of an advantage because the vaccines being used here are mostly Sinovac and it can be recognized by other countries as well,” she added.

Ong-Lim also said the WHO listing should address concerns over the vaccine. 

“WHO verified that this product is made under accepted standards. The effectivity and safety that [the manufacturer] is claiming have been validated. [The vaccine's] numbers did not just come from nowhere,” she said.

CoronaVac is one of the vaccines being rolled out in the government’s inoculation drive along with the jabs made by AstraZeneca, Gamaleya Research Institute and Pfizer-BioNTech.

A survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations suggested it was among the top vaccines preferred by Filipinos, along with the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.

The United Nations health agency approved CoronaVac for emergency use on Tuesday. It became the second Chinese vaccine to receive the green light after Sinopharm

The listing also opens the door for the jab to enter the COVAX global vaccine-sharing facility, which provides doses to poor countries. Currently, only AstraZeneca and some Pfizer shots are flowing through the scheme. — with report from Agence France-Presse



As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 4, 2022 - 9:06am

The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.

Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)

January 4, 2022 - 9:06am

Government must increase vaccination capacity across the Philippines in anticipation of a surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant of the corona virus, Sen. Risa Hontiveros says.

She says local government units and the private sector can work together to put up more vaccination centers and deploy more vaccination teams to get more people inoculated against COVID-19.

"The active COVID cases have nearly doubled in three days. The positivity rate is almost four times the ceiling set by the World Health Organization. Huwag na nating hintayin na sobrang lumala pa ang sitwasyon bago tayo gumawa ng paraan para mapabilis ang ating pagbabakuna."

December 23, 2021 - 11:44am

FDA chief Eric Domingo says that its agency has given emergency approval for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

November 11, 2021 - 7:30am

The United States immunized around 900,000 children aged five-to-11 against Covid in the first week the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for them, a White House official says Wednesday.

Roughly 700,000 more have made appointments at pharmacies, White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients tells reporters.

"The program is just getting up to full strength," he says, adding most of the shots were given in the last couple of days alone. — AFP

November 8, 2021 - 7:56pm

The Philippines has received 2.8 million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines from Russia.

The shipment arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Monday night and was met by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

November 7, 2021 - 11:57am

A Department of the Interior and Local Government proposal to require Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries to get vaccinated before cash transfers to them can be released will not help the poor, Sen. Risa Hontiveros says.

"Walang kundisyon sa 4Ps law na kailangang COVID-19 vaccinated ang recipients kaya dapat igalang at irespeto ng ating mga opisyal ang desisyon ng sinuman ukol sa pagbabakuna," she says. 

(The 4Ps Law does not include the condition that recipients must be vaccinated against COVID-19 so the government must respect people's decision to get vaccinated or not)

She says it would be better for government agencues like the social welfare and health departments to encourage 4Ps beneficiaries to get vaccinated but not as a condition to receive cash aid.

Hontiveros says encouragement and explanations have helped address vaccine hesitancy in Metro Manila.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with