The controversial China-made Sinovac vaccine which posted only a 50% efficacy rate in a late-stage trial in Brazil will still need to undergo the government’s stringent regulatory processes before being tested in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) assured the public. 

“We have to understand that these vaccines are still being developed, tapos hindi lahat ng bansa ay magkakaroon ng equal share and can have in the short term ‘yung kanilang populasyon para mabakunahan, so we are trying to negotiate and we’re trying to scope kung ano ‘yung mga acceptable,” DOH spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

“Kapag sinabi na 50 percent efficacy rate, ‘yan naman ay sinasabi na kapag pumasok dito, dadaan pa rin ‘yan sa stringent regulatory process natin, so we would still be able to determine and ensure na ang papasok po rito ay katanggap-tanggap sa ating populasyon,” she added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) allowed the minimum efficacy rate of a vaccine during an outbreak to 50 percent, while 70 percent is the desired efficacy rate.

Vergeire also defended the China-produced Sinovac vaccine by saying that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Authority also allowed their minimum efficacy rate to 50%.

“The government is ensuring that it will be efficient in these procurement of vaccines,” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri slammed the vaccine and said that procuring the vaccines that have only 50% efficacy rate is a “total waste” of public funds.

Agusan del Norte First District Representative Lawrence Fortun also criticized the Sinovac vaccine saying that buying such vaccines would be “nonsense” if it only had a 50% efficacy rate, as per late-stage trial in Brazil. RJ Espartinez