Filipino nurse in UK inoculated with COVID vaccine says it's 'safe'

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 13 2020 11:59 AM | Updated as of Dec 13 2020 12:13 PM

A nurse prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London, Britain December 8, 2020. Frank Augstein/Pool via Reuters/file

MANILA - A Filipino nurse in the UK who was among the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19 said Sunday it was safe and properly researched.

Leo Quijano, a nurse in Brighton, said he was inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine of Pfizer and BioNTech last Wednesday, the second day of the jab rollout in the UK. Two other Filipinos received the vaccine ahead of him, as far as he knows, he said.

Quijano said he experienced mild fever and mild muscle pain just like the side effect of any other vaccines, and took 2 days off work.

"Yung turok, wala akong naramdaman. Then I stayed (for) 10 minutes para ma-check kung may immediate reaction or side effects from injection. Wala naman. So I returned to work until 8 p.m. Paggising ko, medyo heavy lang ang injection site, tsaka medyo sore which is a very common side effect na sinabi sa leaflet," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(I did not feel anything during the jab. I stayed for 10 minutes to check if there's an immediate reaction. There was none. So I returned to work until 8 p.m. When I woke up the next day, the injection site felt heavy and was sore which is a very common side, according to the leaflet.)

"'Wag po kayong matakot kasi (Don't be scared because) the vaccine has been tested, it’s been researched, experimented. It’s safe. Ang dami na rin pong nagpa-vaccine dito sa'min."

(Many here have also been inoculated.)

He said those who reportedly experienced allergic reactions after receiving the vaccine "have history of allergy." 

Quijano said he is due for a second dose of the vaccine on Dec. 30 as there is a minimum of 21 days or 3 weeks in between jabs.

"There’s a proper screening before the vaccination...So far, nothing is happening with me, aside from the mild side effects I've experienced," he said.

He urged those who have been inoculated to keep observing minimum health protocols.

"Walang (There's no) assurance because what they said, even 7 days after the second injection, you’re not fully protected.So I believe we still need to keep the prevention na ginagawa natin (that we're doing)," he said.

"Even though po nagka-vaccine ka na (you've been vaccinated), probably (the health measures are) more likely to carry on... Prevention, prevention, prevention po," stressed the nurse who got infected with COVID-19 in June and has recovered.

The UK was the first nation in the world to approve the emergency use of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, followed by the United States.

The government earlier said the first COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in the Philippines might be China's Sinovac.

As of Dec. 12, the Department of Foreign Affairs has recorded 12,300 COVID cases among Filipinos abroad, of which, 1,416 are in Europe.

Of the 3,443 who are undergoing treatment, 309 are in Europe.

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