Unvaccinated nearly 3 times more likely to die from COVID-19 – DOH

Unvaccinated Filipinos are twice more likely to develop severe COVID-19, and nearly three times times more likely to die from the disease, according to data recently shared by the Department of Health (DOH).

The health department looked at 216,074 virus cases that in health facilities from March 1, 2021 – when the Philippines launched its coronavirus vaccine drive – to November 14, 2021, and found that the vast majority of patients (93.49%) who died were not fully vaccinated. 

In between March and November, the DOH also found that 86% of COVID-19 cases in hospitals were not fully vaccinated. 

According to an interim analysis by health officials, this means that severe and critical symptoms are 1.75 times more likely to occur among the unvaccinated, while deaths were 2.6 times more likely to occur among individuals who were not protected by shots. 

The data was based on records obtained from hospitals, which reflected the most severe COVID-19 classification during the course of the patients' admission, and their vaccination status when admitted. The DOH said hospitals had a 55% submission rate. 

Finalized data is expected to come from the Food and Drug Administration. 

Why it matters

The findings reinforce similar trends seen in other countries, where those who were not fully vaccinated were more susceptible to developing severe illness and death from COVID-19. 

“Analysis on this hospital data show that deaths and serious outcomes are more likely to happen among the unvaccinated,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergiere told reporters at a press briefing. 

Among the factors that can affect varying rates of deaths and severe illness among the vaccinated and unvaccinated in different countries include the prevalence of COVID-19 and different virus variants, the kinds of vaccines being used in immunization campaigns, as well as the use of boosters

The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated 31% of the country’s total population, with a roster of vaccines, including those developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, Sinovac, Sputnik V, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. Sinovac’s shot comprised about 40% of the country’s vaccine supply as of mid-November.

Another 40% of the Philippines' 110 million population have received the first of two vaccine doses. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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