Cabaero: Sinovac must explain

·2 min read

I was one of those inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). I don’t want to end up regretting it.

But the makers of Sinovac must explain the efficacy of its vaccine after recent reports on Covid-19 outbreaks in Indonesia among medical personnel who took the vaccine. These are not isolated cases; there are dozens of doctors and nurses hospitalized despite their being vaccinated. The demand for transparency is urgent because of concerns about the effectiveness of China’s Sinovac vaccine.

Days after the reported outbreaks in Indonesia, the company that manufactures Sinovac still remained silent.

When I had my first Sinovac inoculation, I knew that the vaccine has an efficacy rate of 50.4 percent for preventing severe symptoms, even death, according to data from a Brazilian trial, and an effectiveness of 67 percent, based on results from Chile.

Our government has been telling us to take whatever vaccine is available and not be choosy because we are dependent on donations and arrivals of paid orders. I told family and friends that the Sinovac I had was the best vaccine because the World Health Organization (WHO) said the best vaccine is the one available. I don’t want to regret having the shot.

Our government has provided mostly Sinovac during the early rounds of vaccinations for health workers, other frontliners, senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes. The next vaccine deliveries started carrying other brands such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Russia’s Sputnik V.

A total of 14 million Sinovac doses are expected to reach the country by this July, making this the dominant vaccine being used in the Philippines. More Filipinos will be vaccinated using Sinovac than any other brand.

What happened in Indonesia, and also in Chile where deaths went up despite Sinovac vaccination, are not isolated incidents. Their concerns should not be brushed aside by the makers of China’s Sinovac as unworthy of a reply or a result of bad press from the western world.

Reports on the Indonesia outbreaks said more than 350 doctors and medical professionals have contracted Covid-19 despite the majority of medical workers having been immunized with Sinovac. And to think Indonesia was able to inoculate its citizens in huge numbers and much earlier than the Philippines or its other Southeast Asian neighbors.

Dozens of those infected ended up in hospitals and Indonesia leaders are demanding that Sinovac explain the effectiveness of the vaccine against the Delta variant that is behind the recent infection cases.

Chinese companies are not known to address public concerns, especially those from outside of China. Its officials have said that questions over its vaccines are part of an anti-China bias.

While the outbreaks happened in Indonesia and Chile, the Philippine government should be concerned that the Sinovac that was injected into hundreds of thousands of Filipinos might not be effective enough.

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