DOH extends AstraZeneca rollout for health workers in Central Visayas
CEBU CITY—The Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas has decided to extend the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the region, hoping to convince more health-care workers to have themselves inoculated against COVID-19.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of the region’s DOH, said health-care personnel in Central Visayas have until March 31 to use all of their vaccines from British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca.
Low inoculation rate
Otherwise, the DOH-7 would reassign these to senior citizens who were next in line to receive the free vaccine, she said.
“The unused vaccine can be redistributed to other subgroups on the priority list such as senior citizens and other front-liners in the region instead of wasting these vaccines,” Loreche told the Inquirer on Saturday.
The vaccine rollout in the region was to end on March 24, but only 45,762 of the 89,017 target number of health-care workers had been vaccinated by that day. Of the number, 19,491 were inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccines.
Early this month, Central Visayas received from the national government 30,000 doses of AstraZeneca and 80,760 doses of CoronaVac, a vaccine produced by Chinese manufacturer Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
Half of the CoronaVac vaccines had been set aside for the second dose which would be given 28 days after the first dose. The second dose of AstraZeneca would be given on the 12th week after the first dose.
The AstraZeneca vaccines will expire on May 31, 2021, while those from Sinovac will be good until Jan. 13, 2024.
“Since our rollout of AstraZeneca has been extended, we are expecting and hoping the numbers of those vaccinated will increase,” Loreche said.
Unused AstraZeneca vaccines by April 1 will either be recalled and restored back in the DOH’s cold storage facility here or will remain in hospitals to be reassigned to senior citizens. INQ
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