MANILA (UPDATE) - Only 5 percent of some 76,837 adverse events following immunization (AEFIs) were considered as "serious" since the Philippines began its COVID-19 vaccination program in March, health officials said Thursday.
Adverse reactions "do not necessarily have a causal relationship with the vaccine," according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo.
"We would just like to remind everybody we only allow vaccines to be used if we are sure the benefits outweigh the risks," he told reporters.
"Whatever adverse event might be related to a vaccine is definitely much less than the number of people getting sick and dying from COVID-19."
The total number of adverse events comprise only 0.10 percent of the 75.6 million jabs administered as of Nov. 21, Domingo said. Only 3,874 were classified as serious.
The most common adverse reactions are increase in blood pressure, fever, pain on the vaccination site, Domingo added.
The number of adverse events were recorded following an initial and second dose, the FDA chief said. A total of 150 adverse reactions were reported following a third dose or a booster shot, Lirasan said.
"We have received AEFIs after third dose but it is too early to analyze," Domingo said.
Vaccinees may contact their inoculation site, local government, the FDA, and the COVID-19 jab manufacturer to report an adverse reaction if they had already gone home, according to Domingo.
They will be monitored for a year, said Ryann Lirasan, FDA Food-Drug Regulation Officer IV.
"Each AEFIs have different time to onset. [For] example myocarditis and pericarditis are usually observed within a week of vaccination," he said.
Government has fully vaccinated 34.2 million individuals, while 43.3 million have received an initial dose as of Tuesday, according to the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
It aims to inoculate 15 million people during its 3-day vaccination drive from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
As of Wednesday, a total of 102,102 additional doses and booster shots have been given to health workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised persons since the rollout began earlier this month, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
Some 69,971 medical frontliners and 21,139 elderly Filipinos have received a third dose, while 10,992 immunocompromised individuals received a booster shot, she said.
The country has enough vaccine supply for the vaccination of the general public, children, and for booster shots and additional doses, Vergeire added.
"We have about 40 million doses still to come until the end of the year para sa pagbabakuna ng COVID-19. The rest of population are already included for the committed doses for 2021 so we have enough supplies," she said.