MANILA, Philippines — The country’s Food and Drug Administration on Thursday reported that only a small fraction of fully-vaccinated individuals have contracted COVID-19 as it reiterated that vaccines remain critical in preventing severe illness and death.
The FDA documented that only 242 people had breakthrough infections, or those who got COVID-19 more than 14 days after being fully vaccinated, as of August 29.
The number of breakthrough cases represents only 0.0017% of the over 13.8 million Filipinos who have completed the recommended vaccine doses.
Of the breakthrough infections, five deaths were logged. FDA Director General Eric Domingo said the fatalities are all senior citizens and some of them have comorbidities.
Like with other jabs, vaccine breakthrough cases will occur. This is why officials and medical experts are advising vaccinated individuals to continue practicing minimum public health protocols.
COVID-19 shots—regardless of brand—remain critical in preventing the worst outcomes of infection.
“There will be few people who will get the disease even if they’re vaccinated just because it will not work 100% for everyone but it will work for a great majority of people and it protects them from severe illness and death,” Domingo said partially in Filipino.
The FDA acknowledges the figure is likely an undercount of all COVID-19 infections among people who have been fully vaccinated.
“There is a possibility that not all mild cases or undetected asymptomatic cases are being reported,” Domingo said in a mix of English and Filipino. He, however, pointed out that the small percentage of fully vaccinated people who got COVID-19 is “very telling.”
The FDA also reported that 60,703 adverse events following immunization, or 0.18% of the 33.3 million jabs administered in the country.
Of this figure, only 0.006% were reported as serious events. Adverse reactions after inoculation are considered serious if they result in hospitalization.
“This is very low,” Domingo said as he reiterated that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risk.
The FDA urged Filipinos to complete the recommended doses and report experiences of adverse reactions to the agency.
Since March, over 15 million have completed vaccination against COVID-19, while more than 20.8 million have received partial protection.