The government has defended the use of the Sinovac vaccine and its plan to purchase 12 million more doses to combat the Delta variant of COVID-19 after the most recent study of those who received two doses of Sinovac showed satisfying results.
The Public Health Ministry on Tuesday held a press briefing to provide an update on the continued use of Sinovac and its efficacy after the public questioned why an additional 12 million doses of the vaccine were included in its August-September COVID-19 vaccine procurement plan.
The public called for the government to instead procure mRNA vaccines which many believe are better than Sinovac.
Chawetsan Namwat, the Department of Disease Control’s director for emergency health hazards and diseases, said that all vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), including Sinovac, are good enough to reduce critical symptoms and death, which is the prime focus of vaccines and should not be devalued.
The key point right now is how to provide the vaccines to people en masse as fast as possible to control the disease and reduce loss of life.
“We need to provide vaccines to as many people as possible. The combination vaccine is the answer to administering the vaccines en masse and enhancing people’s immunity faster than a single vaccine with two doses. We are going to order 12 million more doses of Sinovac to combine with the limited amount of AstraZeneca,” he told the press conference.
Taweesap Siraprapasiri, the ministry’s expert, said that the ministry has just finished its study of COVID-19 vaccines’ efficacy on 3,901 medical staff countrywide. The test was done for both Sinovac and AstraZeneca.
Dr Siraprapasiri said regarding the Sinovac vaccine, the results showed that its efficacy in preventing critical illness and death is 98% and its efficacy in stopping COVID-19 infections is 72% on average.
The results of AstraZeneca were even better, with 96% efficiency in preventing infection after two doses with an interval of over 14 days among vaccine recipients, falling to 88% after only one dose.