Hospitals given until March 24 to use AstraZeneca doses
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has given hospitals until Wednesday to administer all their AstraZeneca doses on hand, or else these will be recalled and given to other hospitals with surging COVID-19 cases.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the unused vaccines would eventually be replaced when fresh supply of vaccines arrives.
“We have been vaccinating for a long time already. They have to do this expeditiously especially now that the cases are rising,” Vergeire told an online press briefing on Monday.
The vaccines should not be stored for a long time since they are intended to protect health workers, she said.
The DOH said 1,154 health workers were infected with the coronavirus from Feb. 1 to March 21.
Vergeire also said the DOH had decided to allocate all the 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine as first dose.
The DOH is banking on the assurance of the World Health Organization (WHO) that the next delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in the next two weeks so all those given the first dose will get their second dose on time.
“With that commitment from WHO, we have decided to give the vaccines to as many health-care workers as we can to protect them against rising cases,” Vergeire added.
Doses of AstraZeneca were rolled out exclusively for health workers, including those 60 years old and above, on March 6.
The DOH said 336,656 people have been vaccinated as of March 20 in 1,623 vaccination sites nationwide.
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