Press Release | 28 August 2021

The Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 reiterate that all COVID-19 vaccines are effective contrary to the insinuation of a former government advisor that not all vaccines are effective against COVID-19.

In a Senate hearing last August 27, the former government advisor and medical professional urged the government to procure vaccines with higher efficacy rate amidst the threat of the Delta variant. The DOH, NTF, and Senator Pia Cayetano were quick to educate the former government advisor on his statement made live during the Senate hearing.

There is a growing number of real-world evidence globally which has consistently shown that COVID-19 vaccines have led to significant reductions in hospitalizations and deaths among vaccinated individuals. COVID-19 vaccines are life-saving interventions that remain highly effective against COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant.

The DOH said that healthcare professionals should be more responsible in their statements especially in the context of reported vaccine hesitancy in the country. Further, the Department urged Filipinos to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families against COVID-19 especially with the threat of the more transmisible Delta variant.

“We would like to remind healthcare professionals to be more mindful of their statements to the public regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Amidst an ongoing pandemic, one irresponsible statement is a fine line between life or death. COVID-19 Vaccines offer additional protection against COVID-19-- vaccines save lives. I call on my fellow healthcare professionals to work together to increase vaccine confidence in the country,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Duque further cited data from 23 hospitals in NCR wherein 70% of patients admitted to hospitals were not vaccinated. Moreover, data from the FDA shows that out of the 9 million fully vaccinated individuals only 0.0013% got COVID-19.

The NTF challenged the former government advisor to clarify his statement on COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

“Hinahamon ko po ang former government advisor na ito na itama ang kanyang sinabi sa Senate Hearing. Ano po ang pinagkaiba natin sa mga nagkakalat ng mga disinformation ukol sa mga bakuna kung tayo mismo ay nagkakalat ng mga iresponsableng pahayag tulad nito? Para po sa ating mga kababyan, piliin po natin magpabakuna laban sa COVID-19 upang magkaroon tayo ng proteksyon sa COVID-19,” said NTF Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr.  

“All vaccines that we procured have the recommendation of our Vaccine Expert Panel. While different vaccine types have different efficacy rates against the Delta variant, all of them including Sinovac are working and effective based on real world data,” he  added.

Galvez cited the health conditions of COVID-19 patients currently admitted at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) as of August 26, which shows that the unvaccinated ones have a higher risk of developing severe symptoms.

He said that out of the 280 adult patients, of which 66 are in critical condition, 55 of them are unvaccinated. 

Among these critical COVID-19 patients, 21 are currently intubated and on life support systems, he said.

“While fully-vaccinated individuals can still get infected, none of them are intubated or on life support,” he added.

“This is real world evidence from our hospital here in the country. Majority of COVID-19 admissions and critical patients are unvaccinated,” Galvez noted.

The National Government has been working with the All Experts Groups on COVID-19 Vaccines who scrutinize the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines from selection, procurement, and deployment. Currently, these expert groups guide the overall implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program of the country. The national government and expert groups remain vigilant and transparent in assuring the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

As of August 26, 2021, the Philippines has administered almost 32 million jabs and has fully vaccinated 13.5M  individuals.