MANILA, Apr 8 (Mabuhay) — A Department of Science and Technology (DOST) official said Thursday that the use of Chinese pharmaceutical firm’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine on senior citizens in the Philippines showed no significant side effects on the age group.

“Sa mga datos sa ibang bansa, ginagamit [ang Sinovac] sa senior citizens, at napatunayan na wala po talaga itong major side effects” (Based on data provided by other countries,  Sinovac is being used on senior citizens and it showed no major side effects on them), Dr. Jaime Montoya said.

Montoya, DOST Philippine Council for Health Research Development executive director, also said that if there are any side effects, these are well-tolerated by the senior citizens.

However, he said the usual side effects exhibited by senior citizens after inoculation with Sinovac include slight fever, swelling on the injection site, and flu, among others.

Administering Sinovac jabs on senior citizens with comorbidities will not give them major side effects as long as the recipients’ health status is well-monitored by their physicians, Montoya added.

Also, he noted that Sinovac has a better safety profile based on the data provided by other countries that used this brand for their elderly population.

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Sinovac on senior citizens amid the shortage in vaccine supply in the Philippines.

But the FDA said an evaluation of the senior citizens’ health must be conducted to ensure that Sinovac’s benefits will outweigh the risks.

Initially, the Philippine government only used AstraZeneca vaccine for senior citizens, but various local government units are facing vaccine supply shortage.

Last week, the DOH said 979,200 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine initially expected in last month will arrive in the country in April or early May.

However, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Tuesday said there would be a “slight delay” in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility due to logistical problems.

The Philippines has so far received 525,600 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from COVAX Facility, a World Health Organization-backed initiative that seeks to ensure equitable access to vaccines, especially poorer nations. (MNS)

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