DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 March) – The Davao City Health Office (CHO) reported at least 32 cases of “minor” adverse reactions, including a frontline health worker who was rushed to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) for shortness of breath, after receiving the anti-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines from AstraZeneca.
Dr. Ashley Lopez, CHO acting head, revealed during his program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Wednesday that he himself had developed fever and swelling on his left arm shortly after receiving the vaccine.
Lopez took the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca at the opening of the third vaccination site of the city at the Magallanes Elementary School last March 13.
“I was injected in the morning and I had a fever in the evening but it’s manageable. Fever was already expected within 48 hours, as a reaction of your immune system, because you got injected with an inactivated virus in your body. But these are all mild cases, so the administration of AstraZeneca was okay,” he said.
The fever, Lopez said, subsided after taking Paracetamol.
He said the frontline worker, who suffered from difficulty in breathing, was placed in observation for four hours and was immediately discharged from the hospital after being treated for “anaphylactic reaction” or allergic reaction.
He added that some individuals are expected to experience these “common” minor adverse reactions when receiving the COVID-19 vaccines or any other vaccines.
Lopez said that the local government of Davao will not discontinue the administration of AstraZeneca vaccines to the public since these are approved by the Department of Health (DOH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“The benefits continue to outweigh its risks,” Lopez said, citing FDA chief Rolando Enrique Domingo. “We trust and follow the DOH and FDA and we will continue administering AstraZeneca vaccines.”
The Magallanes Elementary School caters to frontline health workers of the city government, particularly personnel of the temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, Public Safety and Security Command Center, Davao City Central 911, Rapid Action Team, Barangay Health Emergency Response Team, Barangay Health Workers, and Barangay Nutrition Scholars.
The other two sites are A. Mabini Elementary School in Bangkal for private health workers and personnel of the government-run Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
Lopez reported that as of Tuesday, there were 1,342 individuals who received AstraZeneca at the Magallanes Elementary School and 4,557 individuals at A. Mabini Elementary School.
Davao City has been allocated 20,000 out the of 33,600 doses of Sinovac and 3,000 of the 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca that the national government set aside for Davao Region, according to Lopez.
SPMC chief Ricardo Audan and DOH-Davao director Annabelle Yumang have yet to respond as to how many personnel have so far been inoculated at the SPMC. But Lopez said there are only a few remaining SPMC personnel who need to get vaccinated.
The SPMC, the primary hospital catering to COVID-19 cases, has around 5,900 workers.
As of March 16, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 51 new cases, bringing the total cases to 20,717 with 850 active, 18,982 recoveries, and 885 deaths in the region.
Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 13,408 cases, with 398 active, 12,358 recoveries, and 652 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 1,251 cases, Davao del Norte with 3,170, Davao del Sur with 1,388, Davao Occidental with 220, and Davao Oriental with 1,280. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)