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What COVID-19 vaccines are available in the Philippines, and how are they each different?

This article was published on
August 12, 2021

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In the Philippines, available COVID-19 vaccines are from Sinovac Biotech, AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Sputnik V.

In the Philippines, available COVID-19 vaccines are from Sinovac Biotech, AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Sputnik V.

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What our experts say

In the Philippines, available COVID-19 vaccines are from Sinovac Biotech, AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Sputnik V.

These vaccines are categorized by the methods they use to get key vaccine ingredients into our bodies. They fall under three types: messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) vaccines, viral vector vaccines, and inactivated virus vaccines. 

mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer or Moderna, carry into our bodies a blueprint of information — partial genetic information from the COVID-19 virus— which instructs the body to create key immune-fighting cells. Those cells help protect us against COVID-19. 

Viral vector vaccines like AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson use a harmless virus as carrier or “vector” to get immunity-boosting instructions to our cells. The virus that carries the instructions, an adenovirus, is killed in the lab before it goes into human arms. Once it enters the human body, the dead adenovirus gets destroyed and the key vaccine ingredients are left to interact with our bodies and help launch an immune response. 

An inactivated vaccine uses an inactivated (and harmless) form of the COVID-19 virus. When we’re exposed to it, our bodies learn to recognize the virus and fight it off. This dead or inactivated form of the COVID-19 virus cannot cause disease because it has been carefully modified in a lab.  This type of vaccine is used to protect against diseases like hepatitis A, influenza, polio (IPV), and rabies.

All of the vaccines available in the Philippines are recommended to be delivered in two doses between 14 to 28 days apart, except the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is one dose. 

Available data on how well the vaccines work varies depending on the time and location of vaccine clinical trials, which are the studies in which researchers collect the data. In general the efficacy range is as follows for these vaccines: 

  • Johnson & Johnson (57%-72%)
  • AstraZeneca (70%)
  • Pfizer (95%)
  • Moderna (94%)
  • Sputnik (91%)
  • Sinovac (50%-91%)

Context and background

The Philippines Health Undersecretary reported to news outlets that by August 3, 2021, 9.9% of the population was fully vaccinated. The government is aiming to vaccinate 70 million people out of 110 million people before the end of 2021.

Resources

  1. SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines (JAMA)
  2. First COVID-19 infections in the Philippines: a case report (BMC Tropical Medicine and Health)
  3. COVID-19 Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (Johns Hopkins)
  4. Vaccinate anyone who wants a COVID shot, says Philippines' Duterte (Reuters)

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