A Filipino health care worker who had been inoculated against the Covid-19 died due to complications, but authorities were quick to emphasize that the vaccine did not cause the death.
In a statement, the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration said the unidentified health care worker died due to complications from the disease.
The death prompted an immediate investigation by the regional and national adverse events following immunization (AEFI) committees based on the 2019 AEFI Causality Assessment methodology by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The committees concluded that the cause of death was not the vaccine, but due to complications brought by Covid-19.
They added that while the vaccine is part of the solution in bringing the pandemic to an end, the public should continue following health protocols.
Frontline health workers were also urged to get vaccinated.
“Millions of people around the world have received this vaccine, and evidence continues to show that the benefit of vaccination outweighs the risk of severe disease and death caused by Covid-19,” both agencies said.
The country had so far inoculated more than 200,000 health workers and most of them had been administered the first dose.
An individual needs two doses of the coronavirus disease vaccine.
Among the vaccines that were administered to frontline health care workers were CoronaVac from Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and the AZD1222 vaccine from AstraZeneca.
According to the WHO, immunity response from the first dose of the vaccine will only arrive after two weeks, and a second dose of the vaccine will boost that immunity.
“After the first dose, we see a good immune response that kicks in within about two weeks of that first dose. And it’s really the second dose that then boosts that immune response and we see immunity get even stronger after that second dose, again within a shorter period of time after the second dose,” said the WHO’s Dr. Katherine O’Brien.
So far, most Covid-19 vaccines that were given under emergency use require two full doses for full efficacy.
Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that those who had been infected with Covid-19 should delay getting vaccinated for up to 90 days, citing possible risk of reinfection.
1-M weekly target
National vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government was looking at inoculating a million individuals per week in April once more vaccine supplies were delivered.
During the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday, Galvez said the number of target recipients would increase every month to reach up to 5 million vaccine recipients per week by June.
“Inaasahan po natin na tayo ay makapagbakuna ng isang milyong tao kada linggo ngayong Abril, dalawang milyon kada linggo ngayong Mayo at tatlo hanggang limang milyon kada linggo ngayong Hunyo (We are expecting to inoculate 1 million individuals per week in April, 2 million per week in May, and 3 to 5 million per week in June).”
Galvez said on March 16, an additional 20,233 medical frontliners were vaccinated, bringing the total number of recipients to 240,297.
He added that 1,125,600 vaccine doses received by the Philippines earlier this month have been deployed nationwide.
Galvez said that the government would finish the inoculation of 1.7 medical frontliners by mid-April. This will be possible with the arrival of 2.3 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca and Sinovac this month.
“Pagsapit po ng Abril, isusunod po natin ang pagbabakuna ng ating senior citizens, indigent population at tsaka vulnerable sector ( April, we will be vaccinating the senior citizens, the indigent population and the vulnerable sectors),” he added.