AstraZeneca vaccine ‘ineffective’ if B.1.351 (South Africa) variant not contained in Phl — expert

Maris Federez   •   March 4, 2021   •   344

MANILA, Philippines — An expert from the UP-OCTA Research on Wednesday warned that AstraZeneca vaccine offers very little protection in fighting off the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a virtual press briefing, Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, a fellow at the UP-OCTA Research, presented studies showing that the South Africa variant lowers the efficacy of several COVID-19 vaccines.

He particularly mentioned the United Kingdom-based AstraZeneca, saying B.1.351 variant significantly decreases the vaccine’s efficacy from 70% to mere 10%.

 “Basically, South Africa decided to abandon the AstraZeneca vaccine. It was no different than injecting water into the patients. With 10% protection, basically, most people would still be able to get mild and moderate COVID-19,” Austriaco said.

Austriaco underscored how imperative it is to eliminate the B.1.351 variant as it could be a potential stumbling block to the country’s goal of achieving herd immunity.

 “The B1.351 variant can resist the AstraZeneca vaccine. If we do not eliminate the B1.351 variant in the Philippines…the 17 million doses of AstraZeneca that we have already bought but have not yet arrived will be ineffective against fighting this particular variant from South Africa,” he said.

“If it is not controlled, if it is not eliminated from the islands, [it will be] more difficult for us to vaccinate the 75 million Filipinos in order to acquire herd immunity,” he added.

Austriaco also said that, with AstraZeneca vaccine, there is still a need for a third shot to boost the two doses that will be given to the vaccinees to ensure that they are protected from the said variant.

“We would need three doses of the remaining vaccines because you would need one booster shot just for the B.1.351 variant,” he said.

The Philippines is expected to receive an initial 487,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday from the WHO-COVAX facility. Local government units and private companies have also procured around 17 million doses through tripartite agreements.

Recent findings showed that the Philippines has recorded six cases of the South Africa variant. —/mbmf (with details from Aiko Miguel)

PH receives 500K more Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Thursday received another shipment of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech.

Around 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines purchased by the government arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at past 5 p.m. It arrived via a Philippines Airlines flight.

The shipment brings the COVID-19 shots so far delivered to the country to more than 3,525,600, comprised of CoronaVac and AstraZeneca.

This is part of the commitment of Sinovac Biotech to deliver 1.5 million vaccine doses this month. The other 500,000 doses were shipped last April 11.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said that about 100,000 of these vaccines will be deployed to Metro Manila and its administration will be completed within the week.

Galvez also said that another 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines will be delivered on April 29.

500K more Sinovac doses to arrive in PH April 22

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is set to receive Thursday 500,000 more doses of CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech.

The plane carrying the shipment is expected to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport around 5 p.m.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and other officials will welcome the arrival of the vaccines procured by the government.

The arrival of the additional doses on Thursday would bring to 3,525,600 the number of COVID-19 vaccines, comprised of CoronaVac and AstraZeneca, that the Philippines has so far received.

Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana on Wednesday announced that another 500,000 vials of Sinovac vaccines are expected to arrive in Manila next week.

This is part of the commitment of Sinovac Biotech to deliver 1.5 million vaccine doses this month. The other 500,000 doses were shipped last April 11.

The Philippines is also expecting to receive this month at least 20,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines made by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute while additional AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses from the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX Facility may be delivered in May.

The WHO previously said that the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses for the Philippines has been delayed, and that it will be lesser in number than expected, due to a global supply shortage.

Once additional vaccine doses arrive in the country, the national government is eyeing to begin the inoculation of economic frontliners by May and to intensify the vaccination drive in other COVID-19 hotspots in the Philippines.

Alamin: Bakit maari pa ring mahawa ang isang taong nabakunahan na laban sa COVID-19?

Marje Pelayo   •   April 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Patuloy ang paalala ng Department of Health (DOH) sa publiko maging sa mga indibidwal na nakakumpleto na ng dalawang dosage ng COVID-19 vaccines na mag-ingat dahil posible pa rin silang mahawa ng virus.

Paliwanag ng DOH, patuloy pang pinag-aaralan ang pagiging epektibo ng bakuna at wala pang sapat na ebidensya kung kailan makukuha ng isang indibidwal ang ganap na proteksyon pagkatapos na makapagpabakuna.

Ayon sa DOH at maging ng mga vaccine expert, proteksyon sa pagkakaroon ng severe case ng coronavirus disease ang maibibigay ng mga COVID-19 vaccines sa ngayon at hindi ang immunity sa pagkakahawa sa virus.

“Ang sinasabi natin, lahat ng bakuna na available ngayon for EUA ay wala silang kapasidad para mag-block ng transmission. Ibig sabihin, kahit ikaw ay bakunado na even with your second dose you can still be infected and you can still infect others,” paliwanag ni Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Sa kasalukuyan, ilang bansa gaya ng Singapore at Japan ang nakapagtala na ng mga indibidwal na nahawa pa rin sa COVID-19 ilang araw pagkatapos na mabakunahan ng bakunang Pfizer-BionTech.

Kaya naman pinag-iingat pa rin ng DOH ang mga nakakumpleto na ng two dosage ng COVID-19 vaccines at sumunod pa rin sa health protocols dahil hanggang ngayon ay patuloy pang pinag-aaralan kung kailan makukuha ng isang indibidwal na nabakunahan ang ganap na proteksyon nito sa katawan.

“Wala pang lumalabas na sufficient evidence to state how much time does these vaccines give as protection. mayroon pailan-ilang studies lumalabas up to three months up to six months pero wala pa talagang sufficient na ebidensya at wala pa ring ibinibigay na rekomendasyon ang (World Health Organization),” ayon kay Vergeire.

Ngunit paliwanag ng mga vaccine expert, kung mahahawa man ang indibidwal na naka-kumpleto na ng COVID-19 vaccine, hindi naman ito magkakaroon ng severe cases ng sakit.

Base sa evaluation ng Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ang bakunang CoronaVac ng Sinovac ay may 100 percent efficacy rate laban sa pagkakaroon ng severe case; 50 percent laban sa mild cases; at 83 percent sa moderate cases.

Ang bakunang AstraZeneca naman ay may 100 percent efficacy rate upang protektahan ang isang indibidwal sa pagkakaroon ng moderate to severe cases ng COVID-19.

“Again I reiterate that it may not prevent you from getting an infection but it will suddenly prevent you from severe disease and death,” concluded Dr. Ruby Pawankar, president of the Asia Pacific Association of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology (APAAACI). MNP (sa ulat ni Harlene Delgado)

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