September 30, 2023

The Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center has recorded 635 Covid-19 breakthrough infections among its employees, but none of the cases was considered critical or has led to death.

These breakthrough cases are among the 1,155 BGHMC personnel who tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic last year. Breakthrough infection refers to Covid-19 cases among fully vaccinated individuals.

BGHMC Infectious Disease Specialist Thea Pamela Cajulao said there had been breakthrough cases among its employees, but no one experienced severe symptoms or was hospitalized.

The good news, Cajulao said, is no one was hospitalized or no mortality was recorded among the breakthrough cases, which proves the vaccine against the Covid-19 is protective.

Department of Health-Cordillera Asst. Director Amelita Pangilinan said data on breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated groups in the region are yet to be collated.

Despite the possibility that fully vaccinated individuals can still contract the Covid-19, health experts said the vaccine remains the best solution to end the pandemic.

Cajulao said vaccines do not provide 100 percent protection, but they can minimize the risk of hospitalization and deaths.

When 413 employees of BGHMC tested positive for the Covid-19 in September, the highest number recorded by the hospital so far and of whom 91 percent are fully vaccinated, Cajulao credited the vaccines for preventing critical cases and deaths.

“We can conclude that vaccines are protective because majority (47 percent) of the infected workers were asymptomatic and 46 percent were classified as mild cases while three percent were moderate and four percent were classified as severe cases. There were no critical cases and no mortalities,” Cajulao said.

She said this is in contrast to the Covid-19-related deaths among the patients admitted to the BGHMC last month, in which 89 percent of the 142 who died were unvaccinated.

Cajulao said breakthrough infections are expected because experts are still on the early stages of understanding how to maximize the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines.

“Breakthrough infections are a concern, but they are expected to occur because we still have a lot to learn about the vaccines, like how many doses should be administered and the optimum interval period (between the doses). Despite these, however, we have proven that vaccines are protective,” Cajulao said.

BGHMC also recorded last month the highest number of Covid-19 admissions with 704.

Since the start of the pandemic, Cajulao said the BGHMC admitted 4,141 Covid-19 patients.

In terms of reinfection or those who contracted the Covid-19 again after recovering, Cajulao said the BGHMC recorded 98 cases out of the 704 patients who were admitted to the hospital last month.

Before a patient is considered to be reinfected, however, Cajulao said they make sure that it is not a case of prolonged shedding, an instance where person is still positive of the virus that causes the Covid-19,but can no longer infect others and has no symptoms.

“Only when we rule out shedding can we tag a case as reinfection,” she said. – Jane B. Cadalig