By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Yahoo News

Malacañang is supporting the proposal of Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to use COVID-19 vaccines developed by China-based Sinovac Biotech for people aged 60 and above even it goes against the recommendation given by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA, which issued an emergency use authorization for Sinovac, has recommended its usage for clinically healthy individuals 18-59 years of age. 

However, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online Palace briefing that the FDA only needs additional data to change its recent recommendation.

“We are supportive [of Secretary Galvez’s suggestion]. Napakaraming bansa na po ang gumamit ng Sinovac sa senior citizens,” Roque said.

“Steps will be taken [on this suggestion]. The local representative of Sinovac will present additional data to FDA para mabago iyong EUA,” Roque added.

The FDA granted EUA on Sinovac last February 23, but it did not recommend it for health workers since its efficacy rate only reached 50.4% in that group.

The Department of Health (DOH) ultimately allowed the administration of Sinovac vaccines among healthcare workings, saying such vaccine prevents exhibiting moderate and severe COVID-19 symptoms at 78% to 100%.

The Philippines officially started its COVID-19 vaccination program on March 1 using the Sinovac doses donated by the Chinese government.