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Filipina in ICU after jab talks to kin, but condition still listed as ‘serious’

17 May 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Gemalyn is reported to have spoken to family members in HK and the Phl via video call

The 31-year-old Filipina who was taken to the hospital on Thursday, May 13, after collapsing and suffering convulsions following her second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine is now fully conscious and has managed to speak to her family members.

The news was relayed by Welfare Officer Virsie Tamayao, who has kept in touch with the relatives of Gemalyn L. Gabon, who remains in Princess Margaret Hospital where she was treated for convulsions which left her in a semi-conscious state initially.


On inquiry, the Hospital Authority said today, May 17, that Gabon’s condition has been downgraded from “critical” to “serious,” meaning she no longer needs urgent medical care, but is still closely watched.

However, one of her cousins reported to Tamayao that the patient was already taken off life support.

Gusto ko lang ipaalam sa inyo about kay Gemalyn. Gising (na) po siya. Buhay at malakas,” said the ecstatic cousin, who visited the patient Saturday night. (I just want to inform you about Gemaly’s condition. She’s awake. Alive and strong).

Pindutin para sa detalye

Nakakahinga na siya ng sarili niya (ng) walang life support,” added the cousin. (She can already breathe on her own and without life support).

One of the patient’s sisters also texted from the Philippines that their family had managed to talk to Gabon via video call.

“Nagulat po kami (nang) tumawag siya. Pero masaya kami…at gumaling na siya, said the sister. (We were surprised when she called. But we’re happy that she’s already well).

Call now!

Pictures of Gabon collapsing within minutes of her taking her second dose of the BioNTech vaccine at the Lai Chi Kok centre late on Thursday night went viral, especially after one of those who took the shots falsely reported that she had passed away shortly after being taken to hospital.

Gabon being taken away from the vaccination centre after collapsing

The HA later issued a statement saying Gabon was in critical condition at Princess Margaret where she was taken after suffering convulsions. Two others had the same symptoms post-vaccination on the same day but were discharged on the same day.

Tamayao who managed to visit the worker along with her employers on Thursday night, said the attending doctor did a CT scan that showed the patient had no brain injury. But she continued having seizures so she was given medicines that made her drowsy and put her "in a deep sleep."

But she was not comatose, Tamayao stressed.


A background check on the patient’s medical condition showed she was treated for hypertension at Queen Elizabeth Hospital last year, and had convulsions that appeared to be epileptic seizures twice when she was very young.

But when asked if she thought the vaccination had caused Gabon’s convulsions and collapse, the doctor reportedly said she did not think there was a connection.

Gabon, a single mother of two and native of Gloria, Oriental Mindoro, had worked in Dubai, United Arab Emirates previously, but did not seem to suffer any medical problems. 

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.

She arrived in Hong Kong in January 2020, and moved to a new employer after a year.

Her current employer reportedly told Tamayao that the helper was very active and hardworking.

Parang wala naman daw sakit,” (She didn't seem to be sick at all) Tamayao recalled the employer as saying. 

However, the employer told the doctor that after Gabon had her first dose of the vaccine, she vomited and complained of a headache that lasted for around two hours. However, she did not seek medical attention.

The latest bulletin posted by the government on its vaccination program showed 11 people were taken to hospital on Sunday for various post-jab symptoms, ranging from a rash to lip and tongue numbness and vasovagal attack, or a rapid drop in heart rate and blood pressure.

At least three suffered from hypertension.

However, all were discharged after medical consultation or treatment, or “discharged against medical advice.”

So far, about 787,200 people have received two doses of any of the two Covid vaccines given in Hong Kong, representing 12.1 percent of about 6,500 residents qualified to take the shots.

But about 1,167,900 others have taken their first dose of the vaccine from either Sinovac (505,400) or BioNTech (662,500).

If all those who had taken their first dose proceed to complete their vaccination, that would push up Hong Kong’s inoculation rate to about 30% of the total qualified residents.

However, a vaccination rate of 70% is needed to give the city the herd immunity it needs to get back on its feet.


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