Thu. May 26th, 2022

MANILA – Sinovac’s CoronaVac, a Chinese vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), can now be used for pediatric vaccination after getting an approval from Philippine authorities.

“We thank the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and our vaccine experts for approving Sinovac’s CoronaVac for ages 6 and above,” IP Biotech Group chairman Enrique Gonzales said in a statement Saturday.

IP Biotech Group is a pharmaceutical consortium that facilitated the initial arrival of Sinovac procured by the private sector.

In IP Biotech’s statement, it said that FDA released on Saturday the approved emergency use authorization (EUA) for Sinovac, allowing the Chinese vaccine to be used for the vaccination of minors. The eight-page document was signed by FDA officer-in-charge director general Dr. Oscar Gutierrez Jr.

“Making this vaccine available to the younger age segment is a game changer protecting the country’s youth and preserving recent gains in controlling the pandemic. This will also ensure greater access and vaccine equity for the Philippines,” Gonzales added.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Christopher Lawrence Go thanked the FDA and urged national and local officials to find ways and means to step up their information campaigns on the benefits of vaccinations, especially as Sinovac has now been approved for pediatric use for over 6 years old.

He stressed the need for more localized public education and outreach efforts to build up public trust and combat vaccine hesitancy in the grassroots.

The senator specifically praised “ang  pagsasagawa ng mga team visits at road shows sa iba’t ibang lugar ng bansa para isulong ang pagbabakuna,” Go said in a video message during the events dubbed “Bida Tungo sa New Normal” of the National Task Force for Covid-19 as it launched Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) teams to conduct nationwide multi-stakeholder dialogues.

Go said, “Nananawagan naman ako sa ating mga kababayan na magtiwala sa bakuna. Studies show that fully vaccinated individuals have a hugely decreased risk of developing severe illness from Covid-19.

Kaya huwag tayong matakot. Ang bakuna ay makakapagbigay ng akmang proteksyon sa atin at sa ating mga mahal sa buhay, at ngayon pati na sa ating mga kabataan.” Bong Go added.

The senator announced that our neighboring countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and China are using Sinovac for pediatric vaccination.

Citing the study in Chile, Sinovac’s efficacy among 1.9 million children aged 6 to 17 years old is at 74 percent.

It also prevented hospitalization of 90 percent of children that got vaccinated by Sinovac but still had breakthrough infection, and 100 percent of them avoided intensive care unit hospitalization and death.

“The data will show that Sinovac is indeed a very safe choice for children and teenagers. This supports the notion on the safety and reliability of inactivated virus vaccines, much like the flu vaccine,” Gonzales said.

He added that adding Sinovac as part of the pediatric vaccination program will help the country to achieve its goal of inoculating 39 million children.

The government has been using vaccine brands Pfizer and Moderna for pediatric vaccination. (PNA)

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