COVID-19 vaccine wastage doubled in two months
MANILA, Philippines — COVID-19 vaccine wastage in the country has doubled in just two months, the Department of Health (DOH) announced on Monday.
Wasted vaccines increased to 8.42 percent this month, equivalent to 20.6 million doses, from the 4.7 percent in June, Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire reported.
Even though the number went up, Vergeire maintained that it was still well below the 10% threshold set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for wasted vaccines.
“The Philippines reported 8.42 percent COVID-19 vaccine wastage as of August 12, 2022,” Vergeire said during the Senate committee on health hearing.
“The Covax has agreed to replace all expired vaccines, regardless [of] whether they were procured by the government or private or if they were donated supplies, upon the request of the government of the Philippines as long as these replacement vaccines will be used and will not expire again,” she added.
Vergeire said that the reasons for wastage include expiration, spillage, and broken vials.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, lamented that while it is still within WHO standards, billions of pesos are wasted.
Assuming that each dose costs P500, some P10.33 billion are wasted, said Hontiveros.
“Malaking halaga po ito kesahodang procured ‘yan or donated ‘yan at mas nakakahiya sa mas mahihirap at nangangailangan pang bansa kumpara sa atin kung ‘yung mga donated vaccines sa atin — bilateral man o sa pamamagitan ng Covax — ay nasayang,” she said.
(This is a big amount whether it is procured or donated, and it is embarrassing for poorer and needy nations if the donated vaccines — procured through bilateral deals or through Covax — are wasted.)
She further pointed out that the country may exceed WHO’s standard for wastage by October with the current rate.
Hontiveros earlier filed a resolution seeking to look into the wasted anti-COVID shots in the country.
As of August 14, around 71.5 million individuals in the country are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, DOH record shows.
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