OF the 1,004,760 individuals inoculated with the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccines in Central Visayas, only 5,120 (0.51 percent) reported minor adverse events following immunization (AEFI) and only 53 (0.005 percent) reported serious AEFI as of Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.
The figures are based on the Visayas Covid-19 Vaccination Operations Center’s (VVOC) vaccine surveillance through the VigiFlow AEFI reporting.
Mary Jean Loreche, VVOC spokesperson, also said only about 0.13 percent or 981 of the 750,340 fully vaccinated individuals, or those who received the second dose for the two-dose series of vaccine and one dose for the single-shot vaccine such as the Janssen vaccine, reported minor AEFIs, while only 14 (0.0018 percent) reported serious AEFIs.
Loreche emphasized that serious AEFIs do not automatically mean that the vaccinated individual died due to the vaccine.
Rather, a serious AEFI case refers to a vaccinated individual requiring either a checkup in the hospital or clinic due to a life threatening condition brought about by the vaccine such as anaphylactic reactions or allergies.
“It may (also) be because you need to be hospitalized because your comorbidity is the one acting up while you were vaccinated,” Loreche said.
Evaluated by board
Loreche said 12 of the total 67 serious AEFIs reported have already been evaluated by an independent regional AEFI board composed of experts from various disciplines.
The board consists of an internist, cardiologist, pulmonologist, hematologist, infectious disease expert, general internal medicine, nephrologist, pathologist and epidemiologist.
She said of the first 12 serious AEFI cases reviewed, five were alive while seven died.
Loreche said all of the seven fatalities were found to have died not because of the vaccine, but because they had co-existing morbidities.
She said the causes of these deaths include cardiac arrest due to hypertensive heart disease, respiratory arrest, sudden cardiac death, and myocardial infarction or heart attack.
Of the five who survived, three were admitted to a health care institution while two were treated through out-patient services.
Loreche said two of those who survived after having serious AEFIs also had a history of missed abortion.
Meanwhile, Loreche said majority or about 84 percent of the registered Covid-19 deaths in Cebu private hospitals from Aug. 1 to 22 involve individuals who had not been vaccinated yet.
Loreche, who is also the chief pathologist of the DOH 7, said 263 of the 312 deaths logged in the first 22 days of August were unvaccinated individuals, while 15 (five percent) were partially vaccinated.
Thirty-three (11 percent) were fully vaccinated individuals.
“The question is why is it that even fully vaccinated individuals still die of Covid? One of the possible explanations is, you got vaccinated, then you were exposed to the virus, then you developed severe illness and were admitted to the hospital. It is possible that the vaccine may not have caught up with your exposure to the virus,” Loreche said in Tagalog.
According to the World Health Organization, vaccines can take two to three weeks from the final vaccination to be fully effective.
She also said it is easier for individuals with comorbidities to develop a “more severe” type of disease when exposed to the Covid-19.
Loreche then asked the public not to focus on the 11 percent fully vaccinated or the five percent partially vaccinated deaths, but on the fact that 84 percent of the deaths were of unvaccinated individuals.
The probability of hospitalization or death due to Covid-19 is lower if one is vaccinated against the virus, Loreche added.
She then urged the public not to wait for specific vaccine brands, assuring that all vaccines issued emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration have been assessed for quality, safety and efficacy.
“We respect the opinion of others, but at the end of the day, scientifically speaking, our vaccines can really help us get over Covid should we get Covid exposure,” she said.