Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Saturday defended the plan of the government to purchase COVID-19 vaccine from Sinovac even though its efficacy rate is only at 50 percent.
Earlier, lawmakers lashed at the plan and even tagged it as “unacceptable” and a waste of funds.
In the Laging Handa briefing, Vergeire maintained that the 50 percent efficacy rate of Sinovac is within the minimum standard set not only by the World Health Organization (WHO), but also passed the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency’s requirements.
“We must understand that first, the WHO has set a minimum efficacy rate for vaccines during the outbreak station and that minimum would be 50 percent and the desired efficacy would be 70 percent. The US FDA and European Medicines Agency both said that the efficacy rate would be 50 percent,” Vergeire explained.
Lawmakers questioned the plan of the government of why settling for vaccines with only 50 percent efficacy when Pfizer has 90 percent.
“We have to understand that these vaccines are still being developed and not all the countries will have an equal share and we need to acquire vaccines for our population in the short term to ensure they will be vaccinated. So, we are trying to negotiate and we are trying to get what is acceptable,” Vergeire said.
The health official assured that Sinovac vaccine will still undergo scrutiny before it will be allowed to be used in the country.
“It will still undergo stringent regulatory process so we will still be able to determine and ensure that it will be acceptable to the people. We need to understand that we are exerting all avenues available but not to endanger the population,” she stressed.
She also assured that government’s funds would not be put to waste when it purchase vaccines from China.
“We will make sure that our objective to provide protection for our population will be achieved. With all these negotiations, our vaccine czar will make sure that the vaccines are based on the international standards,” Vergeire said, referring to the negotiations being conducted by Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr..
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