DOH says AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines returned by Bicol region still usable

Published March 26, 2021, 4:21 PM

by Analou de Vera

The 7,500 doses of AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that were returned by health authorities in the Bicol Region are still usable as it retained its potency, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, March 26.


Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the DOH-Center for Health Development Bicol informed them that the vaccines encountered temperature issues.

“They were able to take note of one box yung kanyang temperature nagrerecord sya ng almost 400 degrees Celsius and that is unacceptable kaya chineck nila at tinawag sa atin (They were able to take note of one box that was recording a temperature of almost  400 degrees Celsius and that is unacceptable, so they checked it and informed us),” said Vergeire in a press briefing on Friday, March 26.

The DOH immediately sought the assistance of the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to check the vaccines, she said.

“Atin pong ininspect ang bakuna na naibalik ng CHD-Bicol at tiningnan naman po ng mga eksperto ng WHO at UNICEF at natest naman po nila na itong mga bakuna are still potent and can still be used (We inspected the vaccines that were returned by CHD-Bicol and the WHO and UNICEF experts also checked and they tested that these vaccines are still potent and can still be used),” said Vergeire.

In a separate joint statement released by the DOH and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF), they reiterated that the vaccines can still be used.

“Upon detailed review of the available evidence, WHO and UNICEF found that only the thermometer was faulty, and all other equipment and devices used to store and transport the said vaccines were all functional, thereby ensuring that all vaccine doses remain usable,” the statement read.

“Following this, the DOH and NTF will double down on ensuring and maintaining the functionality of all devices and equipment used in COVID-19 vaccine logistics and storage management,” it added.

Senator Nancy Binay on Wednesday, March 24, flagged the DOH about the 7,500 vaccines that encountered temperature issues while being transported to the Bicol region.