DOH sees likely ‘wastage’ of fire-damaged 30 vials of COVID-19 jab in Cagayan de Oro
MANILA, Philippines — The 30 vials of COVID-19 vaccine that were damaged in the Misamis Oriental Provincial Health Office fire will “most probably” be “considered wastage already” even as authorities continue to study the status of the shots.
The Department of Health (DOH) said that based on the incident report dated April 15, the affected vials were CoronaVac, the jab developed by China-based Sinovac Biotech. The DOH added that the vials were also single-dose vials for 30 people, not for 300 people as initially reported.
“Most probably, dahil nagkaroon ng sunog (because there was fire), temperature was high, so hindi na po natin iri-risk na tingnan pa at gamitin ang bakuna dahil nabago na po ang temperatura kung sakali (so we won’t risk looking and using the vaccine anymore because the temperature has changed if ever), unless the storage of the vaccines ay malayo sa pinangyarihan ng sunog (is far from where the fire took place),” Health Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said when asked if those vaccine vials may already be considered “wastage” based on standards.
“But, anyway, investigation is being done kung ano po ang nangyari talaga at kung ano ang status ng mga bakuna (on what really happened and on the status of the vaccines). But most probably this will be considered wastage already,” she added
Vergeire, however, noted that the fire in the provincial health office located in Cagayan de Oro City was accidental.
She also assured that the incident will not affect the COVID-19 inoculation program since the government has considered that a percentage of the vaccine supply could be wasted during rollout.
“Meron kami lagi sa computation ng pangangailangan natin ng bakuna, nilalagyan natin talaga ng buffer for wastage ‘yan. So, ito ay hindi makakaapekto sa ating bakunahan o immunization program,” Vergeire said.
(We always consider a buffer for wastage whenever we compute the needs for vaccination. So this wastage will not affect the immunization program.)
In February, the DOH said a five-percent wastage of COVID-19 vaccines – either due to problems on storage and distribution, or recipients suddenly backing out or having medical concerns – is acceptable. The health agency further said it always considers a possible five-percent wastage when procuring vaccines.
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