Breakthrough COVID-19 infections due to Delta variant, not vaccine brand —experts

© LEO UDTOHAN Dr. Jeia Pondoc, city health officer, administers the Covid-19 jabs during the first drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination at the Tagbilaran City Hall ground on Saturday, August 28, 2021. Photo: Leo Udtohan

Breakthrough infections, or individuals getting COVID-19 infection even after full vaccination, are due to the more transmissible Delta variant and not to inferior vaccine brands, experts said Tuesday.

“The rise in breakthrough infection is not because of waning vaccine efficacy, it is because of the Delta variant,” said Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the Department of Health’s technical advisory group, during a Palace briefing.

“Mataas na mataas pa rin ang efficacy ng lahat ng vaccines against severe COVID-19 and will prevent you from dying due to COVID-19 [The efficacy of all vaccines against severe COVID-19 remains very high],” he added.

Molecular biologist Dr. Nicanor Austriaco said from their studies conducted in Davao City, they found out that “all the vaccines’ efficacy rate against severe COVID-19 case is at 97%.”

“So I would say all the vaccines are incredibly powerful. Any vaccine is better than no vaccine,” said Austriaco, a member of the OCTA Research, in the same briefing.

OCTA Research is an independent research body that is providing  projections on COVID-19 cases and healthcare utilization amid the pandemic.

Less than 1% of those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have been infected by the coronavirus based on government records.

Salvana and Austriaco gave the assurance amid Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s request for the national government to purchase more Western branded COVID-19 vaccines because they have better reception among Davao City residents.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, for his part, said Chinese-made vaccines Sinovac and Sinopharm have been approved by experts in the Philippines and abroad.

“The Sinovac and Sinopharm are not only approved by our FDA [for emergency use] but they are also on WHO’s emergency use listing,” Roque said, referring to World Health Organization.

Austriaco agreed with Roque. “Davao was given with mixed brands of vaccines, most of them are Sinovac, and we saw that all of them are effective,” he said.

“All of these vaccines are effective in preventing severe COVID-19 disease and death due to COVID-19 so we should get vaccinated as soon as possible. Any vaccine is better than no vaccine. Otherwise, we put our lives at risk and we will prolong this pandemic,” Austriaco added.

The available vaccines in the country include those from Sinovac, Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sputnik V, Sputnik Light and Janssen.

As of September 20, 18.8 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The country is targeting to vaccinate 76.3 million Filipinos to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19. –KBK, GMA News

This article Breakthrough COVID-19 infections due to Delta variant, not vaccine brand —experts was originally published in GMA News Online.

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