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Filipina who suffered convulsions after vaccination now out of hospital

02 June 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Gemalyn is back on her feet, after being taken to hospital minutes after taking her 2nd jab

In a development that is nothing short of a miracle, a 31-year-old Filipina domestic helper who became critically ill minutes after getting a second dose of a coronavirus vaccine, has fully recovered and is now out of the hospital.

Gemalyn L. Gabon was discharged from Princess Margaret Hospital at about 7pm on Monday night, and was brought directly to her employer’s house.

This is according to welfare officer Virsie Tamayao of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, who was among those who had closely monitored Gabon’s condition since she was taken to hospital on May 13, suffering from convulsions.

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“She (Gabon) is already fine and has no more fever for the past few days. Also, hindi na rin siya nag seizure (she hasn’t had any seizure) since she was transferred to a general ward,” said Tamayao in a text message.

“We visited her this morning and had a meeting with the medical social worker,” said Tamayao.

The doctor in charge of Gabon's case was not around at the time. But a medical report issued on her discharge listed the principal diagnosis as “convulsion, pneumonia and intractable epilepsy,” which means her seizures can’t be controlled by medicines. 


The Filipina helper, who had a history of epileptic seizures, was shown on videos widely uploaded on Facebook on May 13, being wheeled out of the community vaccination centre in Lai Chi Kok Park shortly after collapsing, with her body shaking uncontrollably.

Her companions said she had just taken her second dose of the BioNTech vaccine when she started having convulsions, then slumped on the floor.

Gabon was listed in critical condition at the hospital, but recovered well enough after three days to speak to her family and friends via online and face-to-face chats.


However, she suffered a relapse on May 20 after another seizure, and was again transferred to intensive care where her condition was listed as critical.

Tamayao said the helper’s condition continued to deteriorate the next day. “The employer called and informed me that patient Gemalyn is quite in serious condition after three episodes of seizure at the ICU,” said Tamayao at the time. 

Gabon was put on a ventilator and was fed through NGT (nastro gastric tube) for a time. However, she bounced back again four days later, and was moved back to a regular ward.

During her confinement, Gabon had reportedly disclosed to the doctor that she had an epileptic seizure in 2019. That same year she was also confined at Princess Elizabeth Hospital, suffering from hypertension. 

Although her latest bout with epileptic seizures started within minutes after her second dose of the vaccine, the doctor who examined Gabon at the hospital reportedly told Tamayao and the employer that she did not find any link between her convulsions and the jab.

The experts who examine adverse events after vaccination (File)

Meanwhile, a panel of experts that examines adverse effects of the vaccines has again ruled out vaccination as the cause of death post-vaccination of another patient, a 44-year-old Indonesian domestic helper.

The Indonesian who passed away on May 21, nine days after receiving her second BioNTech jab, was said to have died of a heart disease. 

A statement released by the Health Department late last night said: “Based on the clinical information and the preliminary autopsy findings of ischaemic heart disease, the Expert Committee preliminary considered that the case was not associated with vaccination. 

The statement also said that of around 1.359 million people who had received at least one dose of a vaccine in Hong Kong as of May 30, a total of 3,289 reports of adverse events (0.14 percent) had been recorded, including 21 deaths that happened within 14 days after vaccination. 

“So far, there is no case identified as having causal relationship with the Covid-19 vaccination,” said the experts.

By way of reference, the statement said that between Apr 26 and May 23 of 2021, the ratio of death among unvaccinated people was 54 cases for every 100,000 people. For those who have had at least one jab, the ratio was just 2.9 cases for every 100,000 people.

“The overall death rate is similar to that recorded in the past three years. Based on the statistical analysis of the above figures, there is no evidence that vaccination increases the risk of death for recipients,” said the statement.




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