The Chinese Embassy in Manila said on Tuesday, July 20 that the CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine, produced by pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, has been approved for emergency use in the Philippines for people between the ages of 3 and 17. The trial involved 180 volunteers in that age group.
The embassy quoted Huaxing Biotech as saying, “Three months after vaccination, antibody production rates in the 3- to 17-year-old population ranged from 98.9 percent to 100 percent, depending on the dose administered.” The statement added: “The results were better than those for people over 18,” Sinovac said, noting that the data showed the vaccine was consistently effective in young people.
In June alone, the World Health Organization (WHO) validated CoronaVac, which makes up the bulk of the vaccine supply in the Philippines, for use in people aged 18 and older, and in early July it sought approval from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize its use in people aged 3 to 17.
An official announcement from the FDA on the matter has not yet been released. Efficacy results showed that Sinovac vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51 percent of those vaccinated and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in 100 percent of the study population.
Last May, China approved Kexin for emergency use in the population aged 3 to 17 years. “Several Chinese provinces and cities” launched vaccination of 15- to 17-year-olds in July of this year, “and plan to expand the vaccination population.”
The government recently lifted restrictions on children five and older, allowing them to go outdoors in public places for the first time in a year. But the mayor of Metro Manila will ask the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the management of emerging infectious diseases to rescind the policy. Students have also been out of school for more than a year, forcing them to turn to virtual learning.
Sinovac has come under fire recently due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Indonesia, which, like the Philippines, relies on a more readily available vaccine from China. The surge is said to be driven by the more transmissible and infectious Delta variant, which was first identified in India.
More than half of the Philippines’ vaccine supply is sourced from Sinovac. Currently, 35 variants of Delta have been detected in the Philippines, with three deaths, eight active cases and 24 recoveries.