MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is eyeing to fund two research and development projects that will look into the effectiveness of the nationwide vaccination against COVID-19 as well as the reliability of “mix and match” of vaccines.
Science Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said the department’s executive committee is expected to issue a decision on the proposed projects within the week.
“To me, these are very high-impact projects,” Dela Peña said at a virtual webinar on the DOST’s R&D projects. “We’re already evaluating in detail the proposals for the two projects.”
He said one of the R&D projects would be a “real world analysis” on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. The other would look into the effects of getting inoculated with two different SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. “I will push for their approval,” Dela Peña told The STAR.
Earlier, Dr. Jaime Montoya of DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) cited claims regarding the feasibility of getting a different brand of COVID-19 vaccine for the second dose. Mixing vaccine brands is now reportedly being practiced in the United States and Britain.
The public has been generally lukewarm to the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac, and has shown preference for western brands like Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca which have higher efficacy rates. Sinovac’s efficacy is only 50 percent.
But local experts like OCTA Research fellow Fr. Nicanor Austriaco said Filipinos should opt for whatever vaccine is available, as getting vaccine jabs with lower efficacy is still better than not getting inoculated at all. They said anyone who gets his first dose of a weaker vaccine may choose for second dose a vaccine brand with higher efficacy, once it becomes available.
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