Adverse events after immunization 'common,' DOH says after 20 had side effects
A health worker (R) receives the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine during the first phase of vaccinations for health workers at a hospital in Manila on March 1, 2021.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

Adverse events after immunization 'common,' DOH says after 20 had side effects

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - March 2, 2021 - 3:55pm

MANILA, Philippines — The health department on Tuesday said some 20 individuals who received the Sinovac experienced adverse effects but sought to stress that these are common after being inoculated.

Vaccinations for the COVID-19 began in the Philippines on March 1 in several hospitals where the Chinese-made jabs were administered to health workers along with select government officials.

In a Laging Handa briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 756 in total were vaccinated Monday, mostly medical personnel despite the Food and Drug Administration earlier advice against administering it to them.

She also said that the 20 who reported effects had "minor and common symptoms." These included headache, rashes and others who had a sudden increase in blood pressure.

"Lahat po sila ay na-monitor and were managed accordingly," the health official said. "Lahat po sila ay umuwi at wala pong in-admit sa hospital."

(All of them were monitored and managed accordingly. They were also able to go home as no one was admitted to a hospital.)

The health department also has a process for monitoring adverse events after immunization, Vergeire said. Those who received the jabs are made to stay in the vaccination site for half an hour in case of an immediate reaction.

They will also be monitored for a year since all COVID-19 vaccines are still under emergency use approval by countries, and no jabs have so far been approved for market use.

In a separate briefing, Vergeire recognized that many still face "fear-related" symptoms, causing some to feel anxious over receiving the vaccine. But she sought to assure that the chances of having adverse effects are only minimal.

"Dapat wala tayong ikatakot sa injection...at 'wag matakot magkaroon ng adverse reactions kasi napaka-mild po ng ibibigay na mga reaction nito," she said.

(We should have nothing to fear for injections, as well as on having adverse reaction because these are only mild.)

Government in the recent months up to the first arrival of the vaccines had to struggle with encouraging more Filipinos to receive the jabs, as surveys showed only a few were willing to take it on concerns about safety and efficacy.

Some administration officials took the Sinovac in public in a "symbolic" vaccination on Monday in a bid to ramp up public confidence on the vaccines. But noticeably, some of those who earlier remarked that they would take the jabs suddenly could no longer take it — such as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and President Rodrigo Duterte due to old age. — with reports from Gaea Katreena Cabico

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