Thailand, Philippines approve emergency use of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine

Written By: Eric Biegon, Agencies

A worker performs a quality check in the packaging facility of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech in Beijing. PHOTO / COURTESY

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday gave emergency use authorization for Sinovac Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine, paving the way for the country’s first coronavirus inoculations.

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Thailand’s authorization came just days before it is set to receive the first 200,000 of 2 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac, its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines, which will be given primarily to health workers.

“The FDA has registered Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine for conditional emergency use, effective February 22,” said FDA deputy secretary-general Surachok Tangwiwat.

The approval came as its neighbour the Philippines also gave the Sinovac shots the green light for emergency use.

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The Philippines’ FDA Director General Enrique Domingo disclosed on Monday that the country had granted the emergency use authorization (EUA) to China’s Chinese-made vaccine.

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“After a thorough and rigorous review of the currently available published and unpublished data by our regulatory and medical experts, the FDA is granting an emergency use authorization to the COVID-19 vaccine of Sinovac,” Domingo told a televised press conference.

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Domingo said the Sinovac vaccine “satisfies the conditions of emergency use authorization.” The Sinovac vaccine is a “safe” and “good option” for people with allergies, he added.

China’s Sinovac Biotech is the third vaccine maker given the green light by the FDA.

The FDA also granted last month an emergency use authorization to the coronavirus vaccines made by U.S. pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and those by the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca.

An emergency use authorization allows the use of a vaccine still being developed during public health emergencies.

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The FDA clarifies that emergency authorization is not a marketing authorization or a certificate of product registration to sell the vaccine commercially.

The Philippine government aims to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos this year, starting with health care workers, the elderly, and the poor communities.

The Philippines now has 561,169 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 12,088 deaths.

On the other hand, Thailand has recorded just 25,504 coronavirus cases in total, more than four-fifths of those since December, with 89 deaths overall.

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