Majority of 24 deaths reported after vaccination unrelated to COVID-19 vaccines — FDA, DOH

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 23 2021 11:33 AM | Updated as of Apr 23 2021 11:48 AM

Video courtesy of Department of Health

MANILA — The Food and Drug Administration on Friday reported that out of the more than 1 million Filipinos vaccinated against COVID-19, 24 people died. However, most of the reported deaths were found to be unrelated to vaccination.

“Although nakakalungkot po na may nakita tayong mga ganitong kaso, ang evaluation natin…most of it (fatalities) are not related to vaccination,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said during a virtual briefing.

(Although it is sad that there are reported deaths, our evaluation shows that they are not related to vaccination.)

Out of the 24 who died following their vaccination, 11 were found to have been infected with COVID-19, 8 had cardiovascular or cerebrovascular illness and 3 reportedly suffered another infectious disease. The remaining 2 are still pending review.

The assessment of the cases showed that most or 19 out of the 24 cases are coincidental or unrelated to vaccination. There are also 3 that are indeterminate or being investigated like the rest of the remaining cases.

Domingo said most of the cases involved people with existing illnesses or comorbidities. He said heart and cerebrovascular diseases are also among the top causes of deaths in the Philippines. He also reminded the public that it takes a few weeks after being fully vaccinated for a person to be protected against COVID-19. This is why even vaccinated individuals should continue practicing health protocols.

Domingo said experts still believe that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.

He presented that out of the almost half a million injected with Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine, only 1.41% or more than 7,000 experienced adverse events following immunization (AEFI). For the half a million Filipinos who received AstraZeneca vaccines, more than 24,000 or 2.45% reported AEFIs. AEFIs undergo assessment to check if they are related to vaccination. 

Majority of 24 deaths reported after vaccination unrelated to COVID-19 vaccines — FDA, DOH 1

Domingo also pointed out that deaths after vaccination were also reported in Norway, Hong Kong and the United States. The 143 deaths in Norway mostly happened in nursing homes that cared for terminally ill patients. Hong Kong and the US have also concluded that so far there is no direct causal association between the deaths and the vaccination.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained that investigation of deaths and other serious AEFIs undergo a causality assessment that is adopted from international health organizations.