Officials withhold judgment over Sinovac vaccine’s efficacy after Brazil trial

January 14 ------ Officials involved in the country’s rollout of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday declined to make an assessment of reports from Brazil that the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac is only 50.4% effective. Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. advised the public to wait for the pronouncement of the government’s vaccine expert panel that reviews data forwarded by the manufacturers.

“Dapat scientifically proven. At mayroon pong tinatawag tayo na evaluations, iyong different regulatory authorities,” he said at the Laging Handa briefing. Nina Gloriani, head of the Department of Science and Technology's vaccine expert panel, said they need to examine the data before making any judgment. “Siguro nadagdagan iyong datos nila but we need to look at the technical data bago namin na talagang masasabi na ito nga,” she said

Sinovac’s local partners in Brazil disclosed on Tuesday that the CoronaVac vaccine showed "general efficacy" of 50.4% in a late-stage trial, meaning it barely passed the minimum 50% efficacy set by the World Health Organization. Indonesia, which approved CoronaVac for emergency use, revealed it is 65.3% effective while Turkey said it showed 91.25% efficacy based on interim late-stage trial results. “Now, iba-iba talaga ang efficacy nila and kailangan makita natin isa-isa iyong mga datos nila bago natin bibigyan ng conclusion,” Gloriani said.

The Philippines has secured 25 million doses of CoronaVac. An initial 50,000 doses will be shipped to the country in February. Galvez said the emergency use authorization (EUA) for CoronaVac will be granted before February 20. Sinovac has yet to submit an EUA application with the Food and Drug Administration.