Research & Development
Philippines' FDA approves Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine but not for all health workers
22 February 2021 -

The Food and Drugs Agency (FDA) of the Philippines said on 22 February 2021 that the Philippines has approved Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine, CoronaVac, for emergency use, Reuters new agency reported on Monday.

However, this COVID-19 vaccine, will not be given to healthcare workers at risk of exposure due to its varying levels of efficacy.

Philippines' FDA chief, Rolando Enrique Domingo, stated that late-stage trial data of Sinovac's vaccine showed it had a lower efficacy when used for healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19, as compared with healthy individuals age 18-59.

"According to our experts, (Sinovac's) vaccine is not the best vaccine for them," Domingo was quoted as saying in a briefing, referring to health workers.

Domingo cited results of clinical trials of Sinovac's CoronaVac in Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia.

Currently, the Philippines has about 1.4 million health workers.

Reportedly, CoronaVac is the third candidate to get emergency approval for use in the Philippines.

This approval clears the way for the delivery of 600,000 doses of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines that China has agreed to donate, which were due to arrive on 16 February 2021, but had been delayed because of the absence of the authorisation.

The Philippines, which has the second highest number of COVID-9 infections and deaths in the Southeast Asia region, has yet to begin its immunisation campaign. It was banking on 117,000 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses secured through the international vaccine sharing facility COVAX to kick off its vaccine programme.

According to Reuters, the unresolved question of who would pay for claims for damages in the event of adverse effects from the inoculations has delayed the delivery. A bill is reportedly pending in Congress that seeks to grant indemnity to COVID-19 vaccine makers.