Binay assails slow COVID-19 vaccine deliveries; laments closure of inoculation centers

Senator Nancy Binay on Thursday urged the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to fast track the release of all coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in stock to help address the increased demand among A4 priority groups.

Binay lamented some local government units (LGUs) are already closing vaccination centers due to zero supply. Many local executives claim that vaccines stored in the national government’s facilities have yet to reach densely populated cities and far-flung municipalities.

“They should release all the vaccines in government storage facilities. It’s a waste of time if we allow people to wait until next week. By then, the vaccines might spoil in centers. Clearly, there should be no excuses,” Binay said.

Binay said the closure of some inoculation centers in Metro Manila due to the DOH's failure to deliver vaccines on time is “unacceptable.”

“As of this week, there are many vaccines still languishing in storage facilities of the DOH that’s why it’s hard to accept they can’t deliver supplies in the vaccination centers in Manila, Marikina and Antipolo,” she said.

“While there are stocks in warehouses and remain unutilized, technically, it does not serve its intended purpose. Lives are compromised,” Binay pointed out.

To date, about 9.3 million vaccines are in stockpile; 8.6 million have been deployed; and more than 6 million have been administered, with still close to a million doses stored in government facilities.

There are around 2 million doses of Pfizer-BioNtech arriving plus 1 million each of Sputnik and Sinovac.

“I hope the DOH releases these vaccines immediately for public consumption. Because all of us want to return to normal and our economy to rebound,” the lawmaker said.

“If these vaccines remain stored in warehouses and do not reach the LGUs on time, not only will we be seeing a lot of empty tents and chairs—we are exposing a big percentage of our workforce to more contagious variants,” the senator stressed.