A study of the University of Hong Kong showed that three shots of CoronaVac offered approximately 98 percent protection against death or severe illness in those over 60 years old, underscoring the importance of boosters for the elderly population.
Specifically, after the three-dose booster vaccination for people over 60 years old, the efficacy rate of the Sinovac vaccine against severe illness was at 97.9 percent, while that of the BioNTech vaccine was at 98 percent.
The efficacy rates in preventing death of Sinovac and BioNTech were at 98.3 percent and 98.1 percent, respectively.
The study also showed that for people over 60 years old, in the case of completing two doses of vaccine, Sinovac and BioNTech were effective in preventing severe illness at 72.2 percent and 89.6 percent, respectively, and in preventing death at 77.4 percent and 92.3 percent, respectively.
Real-world studies have confirmed the effectiveness of China’s inactivated vaccine as well as its safety advantages, including avoiding relatively serious adverse reactions such as a large number of fever, myocarditis, and acute allergic reactions caused by the large-scale use of mRNA vaccines.
The findings, which analyzed patients hospitalized during the continuing Omicron wave in Hong Kong, have implications for COVID strategies in China.
Chinese government data showed that the vaccine coverage of people who had received at least two shots was 88 percent, and that 659 million people had received a booster shot. However, there is still room for further improvement in the vaccination rate of the elderly in some areas, as about half of the elderly age of 80 and above have yet to be inoculated.
In October 2021, the World Health Organization recommended a third dose of CoronaVac to people aged 60 who had received the Sinovac shot.
According to Enrique Gonzalez, chairman of the pharmaceutical consortium IP Biotech Group which distributes Sinovac in the Philippines, the Hong Kong study could help address the current vaccine hesitancy of the Filipino elderly.
“The data from real world study in Hong Kong supports previous studies from Chile, China, Indonesia and Turkey that Sinovac is a safe vaccine yet equally or more effective than other vaccine platforms. The continued validation on the safety and efficacy profile of Coronavac should further boost vaccine acceptance across all approved age groups. It is indeed a vaccine that can keep the entire family safe from COVID-19.” Gonzalez said.
According to the Department of Health, only 62.82 percent of the senior population have been fully vaccinated.
The DOH is waiting for the Food and Drug Administration to issue an Emergency Use Agreement (EUA) for a possible fourth dose of vaccines for seniors as well as those with compromised immune systems.
Earlier, the IP Biotech Group received the FDA approval for the EUA of Sinovac for pediatric COVID vaccination, particularly those six years old and above.