Experts waiting for data on other booster shots for Sinovac vaccinees

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — The country’s Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) is still awaiting data on the efficacy of different brands of vaccine that will serve as booster shots for those fully vaccinated with Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine.

VEP member and infectious diseases expert Rontgene Solante said the panel has only laid down their recommendation to get a third dose of Sinovac since data shows Sinovac’s efficacy wanes six to eight months after receiving the second shot.

"We need to find data yet that Sinovac and then shifting to a booster with another platform will work. I know it will work but we need evidence, we need data for us to really concretize the particular mix and match of Sinovac and another dose of your mRNA (vaccine)," Solante told CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday.

"Our finding was that, the third dose of Sinovac is still enough and good enough to maintain protection after getting the two doses six months ago," he added.

Solante said that some countries such as Thailand and Indonesia have started using mRNA vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna as boosters, but the panel still needs sufficient data to make their recommendation.

Sinovac comprises 57% of the Philippines' total vaccine supply, or 33 million out of the country's 57.5 million total doses delivered to date.

Solante, who received a Sinovac dose in March, said that even if he is at risk because he is attending to COVID-19 patients, he understands that the government still has to prioritize giving doses to the rest of the eligible population who have yet to get their shot.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government is negotiating with four vaccine manufacturers for the supply of booster shots that could be delivered either by fourth quarter of 2021 or first quarter of 2022.

The government has set aside a ₱45-billion budget to lock in the promised boosters.