Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to be allowed in Singapore under special access route after WHO approval

Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to be allowed in Singapore under special access route after WHO approval

The WHO says the efficacy results of China's Sinovac COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine show it
The WHO says the efficacy results of China's Sinovac COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine show it prevents symptomatic disease in 51 percent of those vaccinated AFP/Anthony WALLACE

SINGAPORE: China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine can be administered in Singapore under the special access route after it was approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO), said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (Jun 2).

MOH had announced on Monday that through the special access route, private healthcare institutions will be able to bring in unregistered COVID-19 vaccines.

These vaccines must be on WHO's emergency use listing and they include the ones from Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Sinopharm. 

The Sinovac vaccine was approved by the WHO on Tuesday. 

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Although Singapore has received supplies of the Sinovac doses, the vaccine has not been approved for use by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

It has only given the green light to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which are both based on mRNA technology. 

The mRNA vaccines, however, are not suitable for people with a history of severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis and for immunocompromised individuals.

On Wednesday, MOH said it will release more details in the coming few days for private healthcare institutions to apply to be licensed providers for the Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine under the special access route.  

"We are also studying the possibility for the private healthcare institutions to access our current stock of 200,000 doses, and work out details on pricing, informed consent process and safety of the patients who prefer to be administered with Sinovac-CoronaVac under the SAR," said MOH in response to media queries.

READ: Some Singapore private healthcare providers consider offering Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine after WHO approval

The ministry also reiterated that Sinovac is not part of the national vaccine programme and therefore will not be covered under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme for COVID-19 Vaccination.

As more international and local data becomes available, the expert committee on COVID-19 vaccination is also reviewing current restrictions to allow people with a known history of anaphylaxis to be vaccinated with the two mRNA vaccines currently approved for use here, the ministry said.

Sinovac employs a different technology, using an inactivated form of coronavirus to trigger an immune response to the virus. 

WHO recommended the vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule spread out across two to four weeks.

"Vaccine efficacy results showed that the vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51 per cent of those vaccinated and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalisation in 100 per cent of the studied population," the global agency said in a statement.

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Source: CNA/hm(gs)

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