MANILA (UPDATE) - Chinese-made Sinovac remains effective in preventing severe COVID-19 symptoms or virus-related deaths, the Department of Health said Friday, as officials sought to allay public fears of the jab's supposed inefficiency.
"Let's get the vaccine. Let us not be doubtful. Let's give that confidence," DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters, as she responded to queries about Indonesia, where 350 fully vaccinated health workers still contracted the disease.
Reuters reported that most of the workers who tested positive were asymptomatic and only a few needed hospitalization.
While 350 vaccinated medical workers in Indonesia caught COVID-19, the number could still be insignificant, said Vergeire.
"Hindi po natin maikakaila na may breakthrough infections... pero kailangan pa din po natin ng kumpletong datos para ma-analyze ng maigi," she said.
(We cannot deny that there are breakthrough infections... but we need to complete the data so we can analyze it well.)
If Indonesia has 5,000 health workers, then 350 is just 7 percent, so the Sinovac jab is still 93 percent effective, she said.
While the data remains incomplete, Filipinos should avoid doubting the effectiveness of the jab, the Undersecretary added.
Vaccine manufacturers have yet to submit data on the effectiveness of their jabs against new COVID-19 variants, that are known to be more contagious than the original strain, Vergeire said.
The Philippines has been mainly using Sinovac vaccines in its inoculation program.
So far, the "overall percentage for adverse events" in the Philippines remain at 0.68 percent, the DOH official said.
These individuals reported experiencing chills, fever, fatigue, nausea and pain in the injection site after being vaccinated, she said.
"Wala pa rin po tayong kaso ng adverse events which have direct causality with the vaccine," she said.
(We have yet to record adverse events which have direct causality with the vaccine.)
As of June 17, of the 14.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in the country, 9 million are from Sinovac.
The Philippines is also using COVID-19 jabs from AstraZeneca, Gamaleya, and Pfizer.
Video from the Department of Health