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COVID-19 WATCH

Sinovac to donate 500k booster shots

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Chinese vaccine manufacturer Sinovac Biotech is willing to donate 500,000 doses of booster shots for healthcare workers, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Thursday.

“We have some connections with Sinovac and they said they are willing to donate 500,000 doses of booster shots for our healthcare workers,” Galvez said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

“We are just waiting for the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO),” he added.

He also said they are waiting for the approval of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), and the vaccine expert panel.

The statement came days after Dr. Rontgene Solante, a member of the country’s vaccine expert panel, urged the government to reconsider its stance on booster shots for healthcare workers.

Solante, who is the head of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine department of the San Lazaro Hospital, cited a recent study in Thailand where data showed Sinovac’s efficacy against Delta variant dropped to 48.33 percent.

He also warned against the waning immunity of Sinovac vaccines, six months after inoculation.

Galvez previously defended the government’s decision to continue procuring the Chinese-made vaccine despite the vaccine’s “low” efficacy.

He also expressed gratitude to Sinovac for accommodating the government’s new orders.

“We are very thankful that Sinovac is very generous and is giving us so much leeway on ordering volumes,” he added.

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