I’m honestly impressed that Mouse was realized as a mystery and thriller series, because it definitely aimed high and was difficult to execute successfully. There have been many impressive scripts in Korean thriller series, but Mouse was truly novel and unpredictable. Mouse was able to do many things successfully, but the series hinged on Lee Seung-gi’s central performance: without his ability to provide nuance to Jung Ba-reum’s character, the series would have fallen flat.

I couldn’t discuss the series properly without digging into plot points, so — SPOILERS BELOW.

If I can provide only one reason for people to watch…

In the past, I’ve tackled reasons why Sinovac is inferior, in terms of antibody generation. I think among the central reason is that it generates fewer antibodies than other COVID-19 vaccines. In one Lancet correspondence, there was a ten-fold difference between the antibody titers generated by Pfizer and Sinovac, with Pfizer generating a greater number: Sinovac generated a geometric mean titre of 27, while Pfizer generated 269.

Pfizer simply generates more antibodies.

These results were unique to the study. However, a newer study that evaluated the antibody titers generated by Sinovac, and the necessity for boosters generated precisely the same GMT number — 27.

The Department of Health has announced eleven new local cases of the Delta variant here in the Philippines. This is particularly concerning because the variant has ravaged even countries which are more affluent and more prepared than the Philippines: countries that have been great at the COVID elimination strategy have been afflicted by it (Taiwan, Australia and Vietnam).

The central issue here in the Philippines is that two of the foundations of an effective pandemic response are sorely lacking. …

As of today, July 9, 2021, the Philippines has acquired a total of 20,607,570 vaccine doses. 11,000,000 doses were from Sinovac, which represents 96% of all the procured vaccines. It is 58.2% of all vaccines available in the Philippines.

The Philippines were in talks to procure 10M doses of Pfizer during the second half of last year, but that wasn’t realized because of incompetent officials. Despite issues with respect to data and price, Sinovac had been procured by the government. Issues were raised with respect to its lower efficacy, which was close to the WHO cutoff. Further, there were no…

Weeks ago, I’ve already been writing about the untenability of the pursuit of herd immunity here in the Philippines.

I wrote this almost a month ago.

This was primarily because of the lower efficacy of the vaccines that we’re hinging our response on: Sinovac, which represents 70% of the total vaccine supply of the Philippines, has a 50.7% efficacy based on Phase III trial results. Although real-world data have been more positive, especially in populations where more than 90% have been immunized, the data in Chile and Uruguay have revealed a real-world effectiveness against symptomatic infection at 65 and 57 percent, respectively. The studies, however, have provided…

With the arrival of the vaccine shipment today, the Philippines now has a total of 9,329,050 vaccine doses. @HerdImmunityPH (on Twitter) posted an infographic regarding the vaccine breakdown by brand:

It is undeniable that the Philippines is currently hinging its response primarily on Sinovac, with almost 70% of the available vaccines provided by the Chinese brand. Over a real-world effectiveness study done in Chile, Sinovac’s Coronavac had an efficacy of 65% against symptomatic disease, 87% against hospitalizations, and 86% against death. This was a study done over 10.2 million people, and the results have been quite promising.

The lessons of Chile’s experience should be instructive to the Philippines. Due to prior connections with China, Chile’s medical officials met with Sinovac as early as February 2020 and were among the earliest countries to procure vaccines from them.

As of March 1, it had procured 10 million doses of Sinovac, and 700,000 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. It has administered 6 million vaccine doses, most of it Sinovac. As a country, it has less vaccine hesitancy than ours (60% of its people were amenable to vaccination). 6 million doses correspond to more than 33% of the total population of…

People I’ve known who are generally familiar with the science of vaccination are generally of two minds regarding Sinovac:

  1. Take the vaccine because it’s the only available one; or,
  2. Wait a little more because we don’t have definitive proof of Sinovac’s efficacy.

Honestly, I believe both perspectives have merit. People constantly exposed to the virus have to deal with contracting COVID-19, and the idea that 50% is always better than zero makes perfect sense. Other people often compare flu vaccines as barely effective, yet people still take them yearly. However, I think this comparison is fallacious.

First, influenza is…

I was happy that the FDA focused on the scientific evidence and nothing else when it submitted its recommendations to the government. In contrast to vaccines such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the Phase III trial results of Sinovac have not yet been released, although data might have been made available to lead the FDA to decide that the vaccine was all right for the healthy population aged 18–59, but not for healthcare workers in contact with COVID-19 patients, seniors, or people with comorbidities.

While AstraZeneca had its dosing issues, Sinovac, on the other hand was noted to have two different…

What I love about the people closest to me is that they call me out on my bullshit. Sometimes I spout stuff that are grossly mistaken, and I like that they remind me of my mistakes. More importantly, they force me to sharpen my arguments and establish them in fact, which improves my thinking skills.

My position is that the Philippine government has been generally incompetent toward the handling of the COVID-19 crisis. I do understand that the humanistic argument bears relevance and recognize that I’m sometimes too distant and cold-hearted with my propositions. …

Michael David Sy

Medical doctor, reader, and dabbler in Philippine history

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