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Some vaccines decrease efficacy vs. new variants but still effective, says FDA official

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo on Monday said some of the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) underscored the usefulness and effectivity of vaccines despite reports of low efficacy rates against virus variants.

"There is a decreasing efficacy as we get more mutations pero 'di naman po completely nawawala ang bisa ng bakuna. It's still a very useful vaccine," Domingo said in a briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte.

So far, Domingo said, data from Pfizer showed that for the Alpha variant, the coronavirus variant first reported in the United Kingdom,  shows that the vaccine retained its high efficacy rate of 93%.

For the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine's efficacy rate slightly decreased to 88%.

For AstraZeneca, Domingo said its efficacy rate against the Alpha variant is at 66%, while its efficacy against the Delta variant is at 60%.

"So nagagamit pa naman po talaga. May protection pa ring nabibigay," Domingo said.

Meanwhile, he said studies on the efficacy rate of vaccines from Janssen, Moderna, Sinovac, Sinopharm, and Sputnik V against the Delta variant are still ongoing.

"Initial reports indicate that they are also useful but of course, we expect that it will be a little lower than the original efficacy," Domingo said.

Further, Domingo still urged the public to get vaccinated as this is added protection against the respiratory illness.

"Lahat ng bakunang ito wala nawawalan completely ng bisa even with the Delta variant kaya gusto nating igiit na unang-una... in case may makapasok (na variant), we should all get vaccinated with the vaccines available now because this will still help us stop the spread," he said.

The Department of Health said 17 cases of the more infectious Delta variant were detected in the country.

The Philippines has so far recorded 1,364,239 COVID-19 cases with 1,284,643 recoveries and 23,749 fatalities. -- BAP, GMA News