The Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of CoronaVac, the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, for the inoculation of senior citizens.
The decision to allow the use of the vaccine for seniors came about upon the recommendation of the vaccine expert panel of the Department of Science and Technology.
The two government agencies also took into consideration the limited availability of vaccines and the growing need to protect seniors amid the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
The DOH and FDA also stressed that, while current efficacy data for Senior Citizens from Phase III trials is 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.
“After considering the recommendation of the experts and the current situation of high COVID-19 transmission and limited available vaccines, the FDA is allowing the use of Sinovac on senior citizens,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said.
“Vaccination should be preceded by an evaluation of the person’s health status and exposure risk to assure that benefits of vaccination outweigh risks,” he added.
Initially, the FDA only allowed the use of CoronaVac for people between 18 to 59 years old.
As of Wednesday, April 7, the DOH reported that 922,898 individuals have been injected with either CoronaVac or the COVID-19 vaccine developed United Kingdom – based company AstraZeneca.