Vaccinated Indonesian health workers who got COVID19 had high exposure to virus- expert


Posted at Jun 18 2021 02:27 PM | Updated as of Jun 18 2021 02:29 PM

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MANILA - Hundreds of medical workers in Indonesia may have caught COVID-19 despite being vaccinated because they have higher risk of exposure to the disease due to their occupation, a health expert said Friday.

The widespread presence of Delta coronavirus variant in the Southeast Asian country may have also caused the infection, Dr. Rontgene Solante told Teleradyo.

The Delta variant, first detected in India, is believed to be more infectious and likely to cause severe illness.

"Araw-araw mataas ang risk niyan dahil araw-araw hinahawakan 'yong COVID," said Solante, an infectious diseases specialist and member of the country's vaccine expert panel.

(They are at higher risk because they deal with COVID-19 everyday.)

Indonesian officials have said more than 350 healthcare workers contracted COVID-19 despite receiving the Sinovac shots.

Most of the workers were asymptomatic and self-isolating at home, said Badai Ismoyo, head of the health office in the district of Kudus in central Java. However, dozens were in hospital with high fevers and falling oxygen-saturation levels.

Designated as a priority group, health-care workers were among the first to be vaccinated when inoculations began in January.

Almost all have received the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company, the Indonesian Medical Association has said.

Despite getting COVID-19, Solante stressed that the patients were mostly asymptomatic.

"Malaki ang benefit pa rin ang nakukuha sa bakuna. Because of the vaccine, kaya 'yong sintomas hindi tumuloy doon na nagka-symptom sila," he said.

(The vaccine still offers great benefit. Because of the vaccine, they didn't have symptoms.)

In June, the World Health Organization approved Sinovac for emergency use listing.

An emergency listing from the UN's health agency is a signal to national regulators of a product's safety and efficacy and will allow the Sinovac shot to be included in COVAX, the global program providing vaccines mainly for poor countries.

According to results, the Sinovac vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51 percent of those vaccinated and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in 100 percent of the studied population, the WHO has said.

As of June 17, the Philippines has received 9 million doses of the Chinese-made jabs. It has so far administered more 7.5 million vaccine from different brands, which also include those developed by Pfizer and AstraZeneca.