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Despite Getting Vaccinated, Two Repatriates in Cebu Test Positive for COVID

It's a lesson in vaccine science.
by Ara Eugenio
Just now
Photo/s: Shutterstock

Two Filipinos who returned to Cebu from abroad tested positive for COVID-19 despite getting vaccinated in their countries of origin, authorities said Thursday.

The first case, a 43-year-old OFW from Dubai, got two full doses from China's Sinopharm. The second case, a 25-year-old woman, got just one of two doses of the Pfizer jab, said Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of the DOH Central Visayas. 

Loreche said the man's COVID infection despite getting the vaccine does not necessarily mean it was not effective. In fact it's somehow proof that the vaccine is working, as he remained asymptomatic and did not develop any clinical disease.

The gray area however is with transmission, as there are no solid scientific studies yet with regards to its length of immunity, she said. 

"I would not call it a failure of a vaccination, and there's an important think that we also think about and that is immunity can kick in later," she said. 

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"This is actually a very beautiful story of how each one of us should be vaccinated," she said.

ALSO READ: COVID Cases are Rising in Cebu, DOH Explains Why

Upon arrival in Cebu last Jan. 5, the man was subjected to mandatory 14-day quarantine in a facility notwithstanding his vaccination record, as per protocols, which he completed by Jan.  20, she said, although no swabbing was conducted then. 

As the man had to go back to UAE for his work, he underwent swab testing on Feb. 8. Next day results showed he was positive for COVID-19 but was asymptomatic. 

"Four out of seven household members were positive for COVID-19. All are currently under isolation,” Loreche said, noting that it is "too early to tell if they got it from him". 

Another returning Filipino who had been vaccinated with one dose of Pfizer's COVID vaccine also tested positive for COVID in Cebu. The 25-year-old woman did not get the required second dose.

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"Kahit na may bakuna na, it's not a miracle cure. So the new normal is, vaccination plus the continuance of what we are doing currently -- which is the wearing of face masks, physical distancing, and the handwashing..This is the new normal na talaga, this is how we must live already," Loreche said.


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