DOH records 9 deaths related to COVID-19 vaccines

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 14) —  The Department of Health has recorded nine deaths directly related to the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, with half caused by sudden and severe allergic reactions.

Dr. Alethea De Guzman, chief of the DOH’s epidemiology bureau, told the House Committee on Public Order and Safety on Tuesday that the deaths were recorded out of over 78 million people vaccinated against COVID-19.

The panel is investigating the “excess deaths” allegedly recorded in the Philippines in 2021 based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

DOH Assistant Secretary Beverly Lorraine Ho said screening for allergies was part of the checkup that all persons went through before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

She said there were also medical kits on hand in vaccination sites for people who would develop adverse reactions to the jabs.

"Of all the reported, what we call adverse events following immunization of COVID, our latest tally is nine deaths," she said.."Nine lang doon sa 78 million doses na in-administer natin ang sigurado tayo na dahil sa bakuna ang dahilan ng pagkamatay nila."

[Translation: Of all the reported, what we call adverse events following immunization of COVID, our latest tally is nine deaths. Only nine out of 78 million doses administered are certain to have died because of the vaccine]

Ho added half of the deaths were anaphylactic reactions, meaning these were severe and sudden allergic reactions to the vaccine.[

"Very transparent tayo in any product registration. Lahat may potential adverse event. That’s why part ng screening natin bago ka babakunahan, kasama yun," she said.

[Translation: We are very transparent with any product registration. All have the potential for adverse events. That's why screening is always part of the vaccination process.]

Based on the data from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 78.4 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of March 31, 2023. Over 23 million received booster shots.

The FDA also recorded 112,450 people who developed suspected adverse reactions to the COVID-19 jabs, of which 10,643 were considered serious.

The FDA considered reactions to the vaccine as serious when these resulted in hospitalization of the patient, significant disability, a life-threatening condition or death, and a birth defect or congenital malformations.

Meanwhile, Ho said the government has stopped administering COVID-19 jabs even if stocks are still available because their permits have expired.

She, however, said the emergency use authorization for the vaccines are still in effect so they can be purchased by the private sector.

Ho said the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program ended in August, using jabs donated by Lithuania.

"Because the vaccines are expiring or have expired and (we) have not gotten extension permits, then technically, no one can vaccinate anyone using those vaccines at this time," she explained.