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Local studies for mix-and-match COVID vaccines to start this month

By Melrose Juanites Calubag Published Sep 01, 2021 8:00 pm

DOST’s Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) chairperson Dr. Nina Gloriani said during an interview with PTV News today, Sept. 1, that the Philippine Society for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (PSAAI) will start conducting local studies on the mixing and matching of COVID-19 vaccines this month.

On May 24, DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena posted on his official Facebook page, “Combinations of Sinovac vaccine with other vaccine brands will be the main aim of the study due to it being the most stable vaccine supply in the country.”

The study, which will be funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), was supposed to start in June but kept getting postponed.

Thailand has already started mix-and-match COVID vaccination (Sinovac for first dose, Astrazenica for second dose). Thai researchers found in one of their studies that the effectivity rate of Sinovac against Delta variant decreases by 48.33% after six months.

According to Gloriani, DOST has no data yet on mix-and-match vaccination that uses Sinovac. She added, “Sana sila ang unang makakapagbigay sa atin ng unang data. Ang data that we have for mix-and-match (heterologous ang tawag natin dyan na vaccines na ibibigay) ay nasa Europe—Aztrazenica-Pfizer, Aztrazenica-Moderna, Aztrazenica-Novavax and Aztrazenica- J&J/Janssen.”

She added that the Philippine study will cover the effectivity of Sinovac for mix-and-match not only for two doses but up to three doses.

“Kaya nga po tayo may mix-and-match local study rin na mangyayari kung saan gagamitin natin ang Sinovac-Sinovac-Sinovac—pwedeng yung tatlo ay pare-pareho all throughout, or Sinovac-Sinovac-other vaccine,” she said.

She added that previous studies on the effectivity of giving a third dose of Sinovac shows that the longer the gap between the second and thord doses, the more effective the vaccination is.

She assured that all expert groups are monitoring all the data they gather from different countries.

She added that DOST will conduct a sub-group analysis of people with the highest risks, including those who are immunocompromised, the elderly, healthcare workers, HIV patients. The vaccine they have already received will be considered before mix-and-match vaccination.