NTF warns LGUs over vaccine spoilage

MANILA – Some local government units would have to explain the spoilage of “a few hundred doses” of AstraZeneca vaccine that expired on November 30.

The doses in question were part of the 1.5 million AstraZeneca vaccine donated and delivered to the Philippines in late October 2021.

National Task Force Against Covid-19 medical adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa on Wednesday said most of the shots were consumed, but a few hundred were not administered on or before November 30.

“[W]e consumed most of that (but) there are a few hundred doses that expired as of November 30, so that’s the one that we’re going to look into– the LGUs that were unable to inject that,” he said in an interview.

“The promise of (Presidential Adviser for Covid-19) Vince Dizon is really to do a show-cause order for the LGUs that had vaccines that expired because this is national government property.”

The concerned LGUs would have to justify the delay in the jabs’ administration and its eventual expiration.

“They’ll be asked to explain to the Department of the Interior and Local Government why (a) case wouldn’t be filed against them for wastage of government-procured or government-donated… government-owned vaccines,” he said.

Herbosa said a number of localities received the same batch of Covid-19 shots and were able to finish the doses on time.

Meanwhile, he said the upcoming vaccine shipments would be well-distributed based on the receiving LGU’s capacity and needs.

“We need to map very well the distribution of the vaccines because some areas need more, some areas need less,” he said. “(As for Pfizer) we still want to allocate for the high population areas with ultra-low freezer, it’s very important that the cold chain is available.”

Herbosa and United States Embassy Acting Deputy Economic Counselor Claire Bea, on Wednesday night, welcomed a total of 1,078,740 state-bought Pfizer-BioNTech jabs. 

For this week, the country is expected to receive over 5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine either through donation or procurement.

Herbosa is optimistic the Philippines could further raise its inoculation rates as people are “not as hesitant anymore” as seen in the three-day vaccination drive’s turnout.

“The fact that we have four million in two days, four million who were given their first dose, is fantastic. The fact that many people are lining up at the vaccination sites, I think that’s also great,” he said.

“Even BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), BARMM was a surprise to us because it was vaccinating 300,000 a day, previously I think it’s a few thousand only. Even Region IV-A which was slow suddenly was hitting above their targets,” he said.

The three-day massive vaccination drive, dubbed Bayanihan, Bakunahan, from November 29 to December 1 aimed at administering nine million doses.Health authorities have yet to release the final count of the total vaccines administered during the vaccination drive, which they plan to hold once more middle of this month. (PNA)

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