FDA: Majority of deaths following COVID-19 vaccination ‘coincidental’
MANILA, Philippines — Health authorities have recorded 24 deaths following COVID-19 vaccinations, although most were “coincidental” as most of the vaccinees who died already had comorbidities prior to their vaccination, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Friday.
“Out of one million vaccinated, we have 24 reports involving fatalities,” FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said in an online press briefing. He said 10 vaccinees who died were given the CoronaVac vaccine of Sinovac Biotech while the other 14 were given AstraZeneca jabs.
According to Domingo, 11 of the vaccinees succumbed to COVID-19. Experts have earlier pointed out that immune response from the vaccine takes time to develop.
Meanwhile, eight individuals died due to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular diseases, which Domingo said are among the leading causes of death in the country.
Three died due to “infectious diseases other than COVID-19,” while a review is pending for the deaths of two other vaccinees.
“Most of the cases of the fatalities were people with existing comorbidities. Noong tiningnan ng NAEFIC (National Adverse Event Following Immunization Committee), 19 were found to be coincidental, ibig sabihin hindi siya konektado sa pagbabakuna kundi talagang ibang sakit ‘yung kanilang ikinamatay,” said Domingo.
(Most of the fatalities were people with existing comorbidities. When the NAEFIC looked at the cases, 19 were found to be coincidental, which means it is not connected with vaccination and they died due to other diseases.)
“‘Yung tatlo naman ay indeterminate, meaning hindi pa sigurado at undergoing [ang investigation]. Other cases are still being investigated. Meron pang dalawa na still undergoing evaluation by our experts,” he added.
(The three deaths are indeterminate, meaning we are not sure about the exact cause and these are being investigated. Other cases are being investigated. There are two cases still undergoing evaluation by our experts.)
As of April 10, health authorities have recorded 24,698 total suspected adverse events following immunization (AEFI), which represents only 2.45 percent of all those vaccinated, according to Domingo. Domingo said the figure is composed of 7,044 cases for CoronaVac and 17,654 for AstraZeneca.
For both the CoronaVac and AstraZeneca vaccines, there are 24,330 non-serious AEFI reports and 344 serious cases, said the FDA chief.
For CoronaVac, there are 6,882 reports of non-serious AEFI and 152 for serious events, while for AstraZeneca, there are 17,448 reports of non-serious and 192 serious cases.
According to Domingo, the most common adverse events recorded for Sinovac are an increase in blood pressure, headache, slight pain on the body part where the vaccine dose was injected, dizziness, rashes, and fever.
For AstraZeneca, the most common adverse events were fever, headache, pain on the body part where the vaccine was administered, chills, and body pain.
Domingo explained that serious events following immunization are those that merit admission to a hospital or are life-threatening cases, significant disability, and birth defects or fetal malformations.
However, he added that the deaths reported are not isolated to COVID-19 vaccinations in the country.
“To put this into context, hindi naman ito isolated. Kapag talaga nagbabakuna tayo ng milyon-milyong tao, in the same way na sa isang milyong taong hindi nabakunahan, ay talaga pong may nangyayaring mga kapansanan o pagkamatay. Bagamit nangyayari ito, hindi lang naman sa Pilipinas nangyayari ito,” he said, citing deaths in other countries that were found to be not related to vaccination.
(To put this into context, this is not isolated. When you vaccinate millions of people, there will also be disabilities and deaths in the same way for a million people who were not vaccinated. This is not just happening in the Philippines)
Domingo reiterated that the “benefits outweigh the risks” in vaccination as he urged Filipinos to receive their COVID-19 jabs.
Data from the Department of Health and the National Task Force against COVID-19 as of April 20 showed that over 1.5 million doses have so far been administered in the country, including 1.3 million doses given as the first dose. A total of 209,456 individuals have so far completed their second dose of the jabs.
A total of 3,025,600 vaccine doses have so far been delivered to the country.
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