Government gives “green-light” for CoronaVac for senior citizens
MANILA – The national government through the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the required approval for CoronaVac to be inoculated on senior citizens as long as there is a rigorous evaluation of the person’s health status and exposure risk.
In a statement from the Department of Health, it said the decision to permit the use of the vaccine on senior citizens was reached with the recommendation from the Department of Science and Technology’s Vaccine Expert Panel and in consideration of the limited availability of vaccines and the increasing need to protect seniors from the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.
Both the DOH and the FDA underscored the need for careful evaluation of the person’s health status and exposure risk. “There is phase I/II safety and immunogenicity data for seniors but efficacy date is not as sufficient as expected to establish vaccine efficacy.
“The FDA, is allowing the use of Sinovac on senior citizens after considering the recommendation of the exports and the current situation of high COVID-19 transmission and limited available vaccines. Vaccination should be preceded by an evaluation of the person’s health status and exposure risk to assure that benefits of the vaccination outweigh risks,” said FDA Director General Domingo.
The DOH and FDA stressed that while current efficacy data for Senior Citizens from Phase III trials remains insufficient, the benefits of using the vaccine for this particular group outweigh its risks, and more scientific data on use for senior citizens may soon become available.
Health authorities called on the general public, particularly the senior citizens and persons with comorbidities, to register and participate in the government’s CoVID-19 vaccination program to afford themselves the added layer of protection vaccines provide. Citizens can register for free vaccination in their respective local government units.
Meanwhile, at the government’s Laging Handa program over government-owned television network PTV4, Dr. Eric Domingo said Sinovac is included in the indemnification benefits under the recently-signed law by President Rodrigo Duterte. He said all vaccines purchased by the government are protected under the indemnification law. (Melo M. Acuña)
Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo. (Screen grab from Laging Handa/PTV4/PCOO/Melo M. Acuna)