Cases of COVID breakthrough infections could be underreported, says VEP chief

Published October 14, 2021, 11:31 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The country’s Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) said there could be underreported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) breakthrough infections.


VEP head Dr. Nina Gloriani said the data on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections among fully vaccinated individuals may be lacking as some individuals failed to report to the health authorities.

“Last October 8, Director General Eric Domingo, the Philippine FDA reported 516 COVID breakthrough infections out of 20.3 million fully vaccinated individuals. This is not very high, but I would like to say this data could be underreported kasi hindi lahat nagpre-present (because not all reported to the authorities),” she said during a webinar hosted by the Philippine Normal University (PNU) in partnership with the Philippine Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

She noted that those aged 18 to 39— the relative young age group —comprised 90 percent of the breakthrough infections.

“Maybe because they are the ones going outside, partying. We have to know what it is that drives these breakthrough infections among the vaccinated. It is because they are fully vaccinated, they become complacent, and just go around,” Gloriani said.

“What do we mean by breakthrough infection? The measure day is at least 14 days after completion of vaccine doses, that is when the infection will set in,” she explained.

Gloriani presented the data from Vigiflow on the number of breakthrough cases over the number of fully vaccinated, as of Sept. 26.

“We expect, of course, more with the Sinovac, because there were more vaccines administered. Sinovac was followed by AstraZeneca, Janssen, Pfizer, Sputnik V,” she said.

Data from Vigiflow showed that 327 individuals vaccinated with Sinovac jabs experienced breakthrough infections; 125 vaccinees with AstraZeneca shots; 35, Janssen; 28, Pfizer; and 1, Sputnik.

Citing the data from the FDA, she said some 14 patients died after getting infected with the virus despite being fully vaccinated.

“All of them were senior citizens except one who was late 50’s. Many of them had comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension,” she said.