DOH rationalizes AstraZeneca vaccine doses as expiry date nears
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health on Wednesday is rationalizing the two million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine provided by the COVAX Facility, considering that the jabs are expected to reach their expiry by June and July.
According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, 1.5 million doses from the COVAX’s AstraZeneca allocation will be used as first doses, while over 500,000 will be administered as second doses to those already vaccinated with the product in March and April.
“The 1.5 million will all be used as first dose. That’s how we are going to implement it, and having said, that we will be able to use all of these earlier than the expiry date,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said that 1.5 million doses of the vaccines will expire in June while the other 500,000 will expire in July. She assured that appropriate measures are in place to ensure that all doses will be used up before then.
According to Duque, the remaining doses will be used as first doses considering the assurance from the World Health Organization (WHO) that the second doses for the vaccine shots will arrive on time.
“The second dose supply will arrive on the strength and commitment of the WHO country representative, and he is going to write a letter to say that the second doses will arrive,” the Health Secretary said.
Duque added that they will also ramp up vaccination and will open up more vaccination sites to speed up the pacing of inoculation in the country.
“We will make sure nothing will expire. It will all be jabbed,” he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.