PH Red Cross pushes for 'rapid vaccination' as AstraZeneca shots nearing expiration

Published May 15, 2021, 6:12 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Speaking as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), Senator Richard Gordon expressed deep concern about the prospect of vaccines that will expire in June.

(Daniel Schludi / UNSPLASH / MANILA BULLETIN)

With about 1.5 million Astra Zenica doses expiring this coming June, Gordon appealed to the government to “take immediate measures” to fast track coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination in the country.

“As we struggle to meet our vaccination targets amidst the scarcity of supply, it would be criminal negligence to let so many doses go to waste,” Gordon said.

To avoid this, he stressed that the government must “simplify the procedure of vaccination in order to encourage more people to get vaccinated.”

PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard J. Gordon (KEVIN TRISTAN ESPIRITU / MANILA BULLETIN)

While Gordon understands the DOH’s protocol of subjecting vaccinees to pre-screening to preclude any possible side effects, he noted that such protocols “may be relaxed and just provide post vaccination care.”

Gordon noted that this system has been widely used in the United States that enabled them to vaccinate millions of Americans in record time.

Those getting vaccines, Gordon explained, do not spend long waiting hours and are just given a hotline or a number which they can call should they experience some serious side effects.

Gordon said that the PRC has Chapters all over the country and can mobilize volunteers to vaccinate as many people as they can and all they need are the vaccine supplies.

As an auxiliary to the government on humanitarian services, Gordon said that PRC is also a “partner of the government” under the Bayanihan Act and should be tapped by the government to help speed up COVID 19 vaccination.

Philippine Red Cross (PRC / MANILA BULLETIN)

“To avoid letting the vaccines expire, the government can immediately deliver the vaccines to the PRC and allow its volunteer doctors and nurses administer the vaccines quickly and safely,” Gordon added.

 
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