Over 350 Indonesian health care workers (or frontliners) were reportedly infected last week with Covid19 despite receiving China’s Sinovac vaccine.
In a statement to the media, Bedai Ismoyo, chief of the Kudus district health office in Central Java, said many of the health workers were asymptomatic and self-isolating at home, but many more are still in the hospital with high fever and declining oxygen saturation levels.
(Wire reports claimed that most of the health care workers were asymptomatic and only a few required hospitalization.)
Ismoyo said that the outbreak came about as regional officials were trying to deal with what is believed to be the highly contagious Delta variant.
In Indonesia – like in the Philippines – health care workers are designated in the top priority group as they are exposed on a daily basis to Covid-stricken individuals.
They were reportedly inoculated with Sinovac when the nation’s vaccination campaign began in January 2021.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that Sinovac prevented symptomatic disease in 51 percent of recipients, but could not ascertain with a reasonable degree of certainty as to its efficacy against new variants.
Indon Dicky Budiman, a researcher connected with Australia’s Griffith University in South Queensland, the majority of his country’s health care workers were vaccinated with Sinovac.
He admitted: “We still don’t know yet how effective it is in the real world against the Delta variant.”
Incidentally, Sinovac is also the vaccine-of-choice of the Philippine government over established Western brands like Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen, with local health authorities insisting that millions get jabbed with it notwithstanding the low rate of efficacy.
To counter this piece of disturbing news and allay the fears, Department of Health (DOH) officials insisted that Sinovac remains effective in preventing severe Covid19 symptoms or virus-related deaths.
DOH Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire pointed out to critics the fact that only around 350 Sinovac-jabbed health care workers were infected as against more than 5,000 who were vaccinated nationwide.
“This means that Sinovac is 93 percent effective in preventing severe Covid as there were no deaths recorded among those who were infected,” she gleefully stressed.