MANILA - Some 15 health frontliners from Pasay City General Hospital (PCGH) have tested positive for COVID-19 after being inoculated with Sinovac's coronavirus vaccines, the hospital's officer-in-charge said.
In a statement, Dr. John Victor de Gracia said most of the medical workers who caught the virus are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms. A health worker, however, was sent to the hospital as "moderate risk."
They are all in stable condition, he said.
The development came as the country battles a surge of new coronavirus infections, mostly recorded from the capital region, with some hospitals declaring full capacity because of continued fresh admissions reminiscent of last year's peak.
But de Gracia believed that receiving the Sinovac jab ahead of their infection prevented them from being hospitalized or exhibiting severe symptoms of the virus.
“Mabuti na lamang at nabakunahan na kami bago ma-infect kaya hindi namin masyadong ininda iyong sakit, sa totoo lang kung nangyari ito bago kami na-inject baka meron sa aming naging seryoso ang kalagayan,” the official was quoted as saying.
(I am thankful that we were vaccinated ahead of our virus infection that is why we did not experience anything bad from it. To be honest, if this happened before we got vaccinated, maybe some of us were already critically ill.)
"They were among the city’s health workers who received their first dose of Sinovac that were given by the national government," the statement read.
As of 3 p.m. on Friday, the official said the hospital already logged 15 positive COVID-19 cases among its personnel since Monday:
- 2 doctors
- 4 nurses
- 4 nursing aides
- 1 medical technologist
- 1 pharmacist
- 3 administrative personnel
PCGH started distributing the first doses of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccines early March.
The Department of Health (DOH) in a statement this week clarified that individuals who got infected by COVID-19 after receiving the first dose should not be given the second dose, based on the government guidelines on adverse events following immunization (AEFI).
"For standardization and effective implementation of AEFI monitoring and causality investigation, vaccination can be restarted after 90 days with a new first dose of vaccine," the DOH explained.
In a separate statement released on Saturday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also reiterated that COVID-19 vaccines do not cause coronavirus infections.
"Even after you get vaccinated with the first dose, it takes about 3 weeks before you get partial protection. When you get your second dose, you may still be contagious to other people. This is why it is still important for vaccinated individuals to continue practicing [minimum public health standards] strictly and consistently," said Vergeire.
On Friday, the Philippines logged another record-high 9,838 new coronavirus infections, the highest since the pandemic hit over a year ago.
Active cases is also at an all-time high with over 109,000 infections.