The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Sinovac (CoronaVac) Covid-19 vaccines on senior citizens over global vaccine supply issues.

In granting emergency use authorization to the Sinovac vaccines, the FDA initially recommended it only to persons aged 18 to 59.

FDA chief Eric Domingo said the vaccines were approved for use among senior citizens after considering the recommendation of experts, high Covid-19 transmission and limited available vaccines.

However, senior citizens set to be inoculated with the Chinese vaccines must undergo health checkups first.

“Vaccination should be preceded by an evaluation of the person’s health status and exposure risk to assure that benefits of vaccination outweigh risks,” Domingo said.

In a statement, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the vaccine expert panel (VEP) of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases had recommended the use of Sinovac vaccines on senior citizens.

“The VEP thoroughly discussed the matter amid the current vaccine supply in the country and we hope that this would respond / address the present demand of vaccines,” he said in a statement.

Only AstraZeneca vaccines were earlier being used on senior citizens.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said that the Philippine government was expecting drawbacks in its Covid-19 vaccination drive this month due to vaccine supply issues.

The country has received about 2.25 million Covid-19 vaccine doses so far. John Ezekiel J. Hirro