The COVID-19 vaccine from China's Sinovac has been granted emergency use authorization in the Philippines, the Food and Drug Administration said Monday, paving the way for its local use.
The development makes Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine the third to receive emergency use authorization in the Philippines after Pfizer's and AstraZeneca's jabs.
"The FDA is granting an emergency use authorization to the COVID-19 vaccine of Sinovac," FDA Director General Eric Domingo said.
"It is decided that all conditions for an EUA are present and that the benefit of using the vaccine outweighs the known and potential risks," he added.
Granting an EUA to a vaccine would expedite its availability to the people who need it the most. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine government is rushing to make vaccines available to the most vulnerable to the virus: medical frontliners, and the elderly.
CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sinovac has been found to be up to 91.25% effective in trials in Turkey but other, more robust trials in Brazil only demonstrated an efficacy rate of around 50.4%.
Domingo said the use of Sinovac's vaccine is not recommended for healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19 as it has an efficacy of 50.4% in this group.
The FDA however recommends its use for "clinically healthy individuals aged 18-59 years old."
Last month, Sinovac said it would provide the Philippines with a "very good price" following concerns over the supposed cost of the jabs in comparison to other COVID-19 vaccines.
Malacañang had said that the country is expecting some 600,000 COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac, of which 100,000 doses were donated by China.