Vaccine czar and National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. has quelled public concern that around two million AstraZeneca vaccines might expire before they could get used in the government’s mass inoculation program against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“We believe yung sa AstraZeneca, we can manage that considering our daily inoculation right now is 83,000,” Galvez told members of the media on the sidelines of a “symbolic” vaccination Thursday, May 13, at Makati Medical Center.
“When we computed the daily output that we have, kayang-kaya natin i-manage yung AstraZeneca (we can easily manage the AstraZeneca vaccines). By June 15 we are expecting na matatapos pong lahat yun (we will finish all of it),” he confidently added.
There have been reports that the British-Swedish jabs that the country has in its inventory would expire soon, triggering fears of massive wastage of the precious commodity.
Galvez confirmed that two vaccines–AstraZeneca and the Russian made Sputnik V–have relatively short shelf life.
He said the AstraZeneca vaccines on hand have two expiration dates. One batch of almost 1.5 million jabs will expire on June 30, while another batch of 525,600 doses will expire sometime in July.
“Yung una is June 30 (Those expiring on June 30), almost 1.5 million which will be administered as first dose. The second dose, yung 525,600, its expiration is July (Those expiring in July will be used for the second dose),” he explained “So wala tayong problema, don’t worry. Kaya ng mga logistics namin yan (So we don’t have any problem, don’t worry, Our logistics can handle it). We are rehearsing this for a long, long time, yung ating rollout (our rollout),” added the vaccine czar.
“Sinabihan natin yung ating mga vaccination sites na unahin muna yung AstraZeneca vaccines (We’ve told our vaccination sites to prioritize the use of AstraZeneca vaccines),” Galvez said.
As for the country’s daily capacity for inoculations against the dreaded COVID-19, Galvez said: “It’s going to increase over the [next few days] considering we are increasing our capacity and we are activating more vaccination sites.” The United States (US)-manufactured Pfizer vaccines were used during the symbolic vaccination Thursday.