MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday confirmed that several Filipinos were infected with COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated against the disease.
"We have these so-called 'breakthrough infections,'" Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.
"Ito yung nagkakaroon ka ng COVID-19 kahit na ikaw ay nakapag second dose na," she said.
(This is when you contract COVID-19 even if you have already received your second dose.)
"Hindi po ito marami, kakaunti lang po sila," she said.
(These are not a lot, there are just a few cases.)
Vergeire declined to give the number of breakthrough infections recorded in the Philippines, saying the DOH is still verifying details about the cases.
"Kailangan lang po namin ma-verify ilang days after the first dose or ilang days after the second dose nang nagkaroon sila [ng COVID-19]," she said.
(We need to verify how many days after the first dose, or how many days after the second dose they contracted COVID-19.)
Despite the occurrence of breakthrough infections, COVID-19 vaccines being used in the Philippines are still considered as effective against the virus and its variants, Vergeire said.
"Nakakapagpakita din 'yung ibang bakuna na nasa atin na mayroon din silang kakayanan na tugunan itong mga variants na ito," she said.
Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines provide 79 percent protection against the Delta variant, and 92 percent protection against the Alpha variant, she said.
AstraZeneca's jab could prevent hospitalization due to the Delta variant by 92 percent, she said.
"Even Sinovac and Gamaleya have shown good performance sa mga pinapakitang pag-aaral, although wala pa po tayong nakukuhang official from Sinovac and Gamaleya regarding the effect of these variants," Vergeire said.
"Pero sigurado tayo na it's still going to protect us from severe infections and hospitalizations," she said.
As of June 21, the Philippines confirmed 5,249 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus patients in country to 1,364,239.