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Duterte, Duque, Lorenzana to wait for senior-friendly COVID-19 vax while senior citizen hospital staff members get Sinovac jabs

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned against the use of CoronaVac for senior citizens, yet healthcare workers ages 60 and up got inoculated at a public hospital during its rollout.

CoronaVac—the COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese biotech firm Sinovac—has been used on senior citizens and health workers, despite the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommending against it.

In an interview with DZMM, medical director of Dr. Jose N. Reyes Memorial Hospital, Dr. Fritz Famaran said several senior citizen hospital staff members already received shots with CoronaVac.

The only catch: they had to provide medical clearance and sign a waiver before getting the vaccine.

According to Famaran, a lot of senior citizens have been vaccinated with CoronaVac, despite the label on the box itself saying it may only be used for patients aged 18–59 years old.

“Kung naka-experience sila ng side-effects, mild lang. Karamihan diyan, increase in blood pressure dahil sa anxiety,” he added.

This, of course, has led Netizens to question why President Rodrigo Duterte, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana have all opted out of the Sinovac jab due to age.

Dr. Gene Nisperos, a physician at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, questioned their decision.

He pointed out how they have used FDA recommendations to distance themselves from the controversial vaccine. However, they forced healthcare workers to take the jab because it is what is available.

He also pointed out a possible conspiracy about how effective Sinovac is, especially since Duque refused to take the vaccine as the health secretary.

Dr. Paolo Medina of UP College of Medicine, on the other hand, the government’s move in telling healthcare workers to ‘make do’ with Sinovac when they had ways to tell when the AstraZeneca vaccine would be shipped.

Netizens also had questions for government officials who refuse to take Sinovac jabs, as well as their seemingly adamant preference towards the Chinese biotech company.

The FDA previously said they did not recommend Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac for healthcare workers and for senior citizens, too. Based on data from tests done in Brazil–the efficacy of healthcare workers is at 50.4%. If they are in constant contact with COVID-19 patients–the risk is high.

To date, doses of CoronaVac have been shipped out to public hospitals across the country for use with healthcare workers, regardless of being in constant contact with COVID-19 patients or not.

Meanwhile, 487,000 doses of AstraZeneca arrived in the country via the COVAX facility last March 4.

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