Amid public worries over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines expiring in June, a former adviser to the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, urged the national government to just let the private sector do the vaccination to fast-track the country’s inoculation program.
Some 1.5 million AstraZeneca jabs in the Philippines will expire in June, while 525,600 doses will spoil by July, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday, May 11.
“The [government] should just give the stocks that will expire in June to the competent private sector then let them do the vaccination. They can just give back what they got when their stocks arrive in June,” Dr. Tony Leachon wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, May 12.
“[Local government units] still loaded [with] Sinovac stocks. We have not yet finished the 3M doses of Sinovac. We’re just halfway through them.” he added.
Leachon also asked the national government to open the vaccination to A4 category. The category refers to frontline personnel in essential sectors, including uniformed personnel.
The 1.5 million doses that will be expiring in June must be administered at a rate of 30,000 per day and the over 525,600 doses expiring in July must be injected at 6,500 per day.
The country’s average vaccination rate is 62,654 daily.
Meanwhile, according to the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center, the administration of the second doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the eligible populations who previously received the first doses from the March 2021 delivery, and the administration of the first doses of AstraZeneca vaccines shall end on May 18.
On Tuesday, the DOH assured that AstraZeneca doses will be distributed before June-July expiration.
“All the vaccines that are being produced right now, the longest expiry date is six months. But as we have said, there is nothing to worry about,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media forum.
The Philippines first received its COVID-19 vaccine supply from AstraZeneca in early March, followed by additional deliveries last Saturday.
So far, a total of 2,556,000 doses have been shipped to the country, courtesy of the COVAX Facility.
The country has a current vaccine supply of 7,764,050 doses, of which over 2.4 million have been administered.