Amid a dearth of vaccines, the Philippine government today said that it is allowing the use of Sinovac’s CoronaVac on senior citizens, reversing the initial advice of the country’s Food and Drug Agency (FDA).
The FDA earlier said that the China-made jab can only be used on people from the ages of 18 to 59. However, the country’s vaccine panel said it can now be used on elderly Filipinos because its side effects were minor, including pain on the injection site, headache, and flu-like symptoms.
“We saw the data and it shows that it can protect the elderly; they won’t get severe COVID,” Dr. Nina Gloriani of the country’s vaccine expert panel said in a media briefing today.
“What I know is that the FDA will soon release an announcement about this. The vaccine expert panel recommends that this can be used on senior citizens,” she added.
She added that amid the rise in COVID cases, there is a need for the Philippines to vaccinate its senior citizens.
“It’s there already so we need to use what we have,” the doctor added.
CoronaVac is currently being used in Indonesia, Thailand, and Hong Kong’s vaccination campaigns, where they are being used on elderly citizens. A few elderly Hong Kongers have died after they were injected with CoronaVac.
The Philippines has used up its supply of AstraZeneca, which was donated by the COVAX facility and approved for use on senior citizens. The delivery of the second batch of AstraZeneca had been delayed because the Indian government had decided to halt its export so that it could innoculate more of its citizens. The vaccine is being manufactured in the Serum Institute of India.
The Duterte government admitted that it is having a hard time procuring vaccines, but said early this week that about 140 million doses will be delivered to the country this year.
As of today, there are a total of 812,760 COVID cases on record, including 13,817 deaths and 646,381 recoveries.
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