Health Minister Gan Kim Yong says HSA will review Sinovac vaccine before rolling out to public; Brazil reports efficacy of the vaccine at 50.4 per cent

Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong said on Wednesday (13 January) that China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine will have to go through regulatory scrutiny and authorisation by Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) before being rolled out to the public.

Noting that the vaccine has yet to be approved by the HSA, Mr Gan told reporters after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital earlier today that the Government “will go through the data carefully when it comes, rather than depending on reported numbers”.

He added that Singapore’s COVID-19 expert committee will also evaluate the vaccine to determine its usage suitability in Singapore.

“We will share more details when it’s available,” Mr Gan added.

The Minister had previously said in Parliament on 4 January -– in response to Sengkang GRC MP Louis Chua’s question –- that individuals are not allowed to choose the vaccine they want as it will “unnecessarily complicate the already complex vaccination programme”.

“Anyway, in the immediate term, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for use,” said Mr Gan.

It was earlier announced on 14 December last year that Singapore has signed Advance Purchase Agreements with Sinovac for its vaccines.

Brazil results show efficacy of 50.4 per cent of Sinovac vaccine

The latest data from Brazilian clinic trials indicated that the Sinovac vaccine had a 50.4 per cent efficacy, which is significantly less effective than previous data suggested.

Last week, researchers at Butantan Institute found that the vaccine had a 78 per cent efficacy against “mild-to-severe” COVID-19 cases after conducting the trials in Brazil.

The institute, however, disclosed on Tuesday that the result did not include data from a group of “very mild infections” among those who received the vaccine that did not require clinical assistance.

With the inclusion of those “very mild” cases, the efficacy rate of the Sinovac’s vaccine is now 50.4 per cent, the researchers said.


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