MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday maintained that available vaccines against COVID-19 are effective in preventing severe forms of infection and hospitalization, following reports that a number of healthcare workers in Indonesia still contracted the disease even after getting inoculated.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said real-world studies show that available COVID-19 vaccines, including those being used in the Philippines, are effective and that Filipinos should avoid doubting the efficacy of the jab.
“Let’s get the vaccine, let us not be doubtful… Yan pong mga bakuna ang isa sa mga susi para malabanan po natin itong pandemya,” Vergeire said in a press briefing.
Reuters on Monday reported that around 350 Indonesian healthcare workers who received Chinese-made Sinovac Biotech vaccine tested positive for the virus, dozens of them were admitted to hospitals.
But Vergeire cautioned the public in interpreting the data stated in the report.
While 350 vaccinated medical workers contracted COVID-19, she pointed out that the number could still be insignificant when compared to the total number of inoculated healthcare workers in Indonesia.
“Unang-una, kailangan very cautious tayo sa pag-i-interpret ng mga ganitong datos, kasi pag tiningnan natin, hindi ho kumpleto ang kanilang datos,” she said.
“Hindi po isinaad diyan kung meron silang control group doon sa pag-aaral na isinagawa. Pangalawa, hindi po natin alam kung ilan talaga yung healthcare workers nila diyan sa Indonesia,” she added.
Vergeire said that if Indonesia has 5,000 health workers, then 350 is just around 7 percent and the Sinovac vaccine is still 93 percent effective.
“Hindi po natin ikakaila na may breakthrough infections, that’s what you call kapag fully vaccinated ka tapos nagka-impeksyon ka, pero kailangan pa din po natin ng kumpletong datos para ma-analyze ng maigi,” she said.
The health officials also noted that vaccine developers have yet to release data on the effectiveness of their jabs against new coronavirus variants that are said to be more contagious.
“Hindi pa lang po nakakapaglabas ang ibang manufacturers, katulad ng Sinovac when it comes to specific variants, kung ano ang epekto nito sa kanila but we know na because kasama na siya sa EUL (emergency use listing) [of World Health Organization], maglalabas po yan in the coming days, regarding its effectiveness against variants,” she said.