HSA still evaluating Sinovac shot, needs more data from manufacturer

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is still evaluating the safety and efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine and waiting for data from the manufacturer, Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, director of medical services at the Ministry of Health, said yesterday.

Singapore received its first shipment of Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine on Feb 23 as part of its advance purchase agreement with the manufacturer, but it has yet to approve the jab for use here.

Yesterday, Prof Mak said that while HSA waits for the outstanding information, it is continuing to do its due diligence and is tracking how the vaccine is used in other countries.

HSA is also exploring whether the data from other countries can be used for its evaluation.

Prof Mak noted that the World Health Organisation is currently evaluating Sinovac's vaccine, and may very soon decide on whether to approve the shot as part of its global programmes that provide access to vaccines around the world.

"If there is additional information that would be helpful for HSA's evaluation, HSA will liaise with these other regulatory agencies to help its process of evaluation," said Prof Mak.

He emphasised that HSA remains committed to the principle that if it does approve the shot, it will do so on the basis of assuring Singaporeans that it is safe and effective.

He added that Sinovac's vaccine has a shelf life of up to two years, and that the authorities are trying to see whether it can be used "as early as possible", provided it is approved for use here.

Timothy Goh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2021, with the headline 'HSA still evaluating Sinovac shot, needs more data from manufacturer'. Subscribe