Experts recommend use of Sinovac Covid vaccine - RTHK
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Experts recommend use of Sinovac Covid vaccine

2021-02-16 HKT 20:09
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  • Experts recommend use of Sinovac Covid vaccine
Experts advising the government on its Covid-19 vaccination programme on Tuesday recommended the emergency use of the Sinovac vaccine in Hong Kong, after receiving data from the mainland drug maker suggesting that its product’s efficacy rate exceeds 60 percent.

The panel’s convenor, Professor Wallace Lau, said the panel unanimously agreed that the vaccine’s efficacy outweighs its possible risks.

He said the panel had received the information it sought following a meeting on the Sinovac jabs last week, and the data provided of late-stage trials show the vaccine’s efficacy rate is 62.3 percent – when two doses are administered 28 days apart.

A previously-reported efficacy rate of barely over 50 percent from late-stage clinical trials in Brazil had raised concerns that the vaccine isn’t as effective as it should be for emergency use.

But Lau told reporters that all the data provided has put those fears to rest.

“This is about an emergency use of a vaccine that will hopefully help to protect the people of Hong Kong from Covid. We have received the data from Sinovac. The data that we have looked at appeared to show that this vaccine is efficacious,” he said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has yet to approve the Sinovac vaccine, though Lau said it has met the body’s minimal criteria for emergency use.

The government had last month decided to exempt Sinovac from having to publish clinical data in medical journals, saying they could instead give the information directly to the Hong Kong experts.

Lau said what they received was every bit as good as the data that would have been published – they just did the work themselves.

“When we looked at the data… we have actually used the same attitude as how we normally would peer-review a clinical trial report to be ready for publication in a learned journal. We have gone through all the procedures as needed,” he said.

The expert also waved off suggestions that the government had pressured the panel into recommending the vaccine.

“There is no pressure at all from anyone. Over the last few days, I have more or less shut myself down from all the newspapers etc. We have concentrated primarily on looking at the data,” he said.

Sinovac was supposed to have already delivered a million doses of coronavirus vaccines to Hong Kong by the end of January, but authorities were unable to approve the jabs because of a lack of the necessary data.

A number of countries have ordered Sinovac vaccines, including Turkey, Indonesia and Brazil.

Vaccines produced by the German firm BioNTech remains the only formally approved Covid-19 vaccine in Hong Kong for now.