1M Pfizer shots arrive; ‘hundreds’ of AstraZeneca jabs expired

Published December 1, 2021, 10:39 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

An additional 1,078,740 doses of Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine were delivered to the country on Wednesday night, Dec. 1.

Dr. Ted Herbosa, special adviser of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, faces the media during the arrival of 1,078,740 doses of Pfizer vaccine at NAIA Terminal 3 on Dec. 1, 2021. (Photo: NTF Against COVID-19)

The vaccines, which were procured by the government from the United States, arrived at Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) around 9 p.m. onboard Air Hong Kong flight LD456.

Out of the 40 million Pfizer shots purchased by the government this year, a total of 22,611,420 doses have been delivered so far. Another 20 million Pfizer doses were bought by the government for 2022.

Dr. Ted Herbosa, special adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said the newly-delivered vaccines will be distributed equitably among the regions for the ongoing primary series vaccination (first two doses), pediatric inoculation, and booster shots.

Priority will be given to highly populated areas with cold storage freezers that can handle the vaccines, he stressed.

“We’re now mapping very well. What we found out is that we need to map out the distribution of the vaccines because some areas need more, some areas need less. It’s very important [to know] what [vaccines] they have and what is the throughput of these areas,” Herbosa said.

However, the NTF adviser noted that local government units (LGUs) are being monitored by the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) to ensure that no vaccines are getting spoiled.

This, after the reported expiration of a few hundred doses of AstraZeneca vaccine out of the total 1.5 million vaccine donations in late October.

“We received the donations [in] late October, I think AstraZeneca, but we consumed most of them. There are a few hundred doses that expired as of November 30 which was yesterday [Tuesday]. That’s the one that we are going to look into, the LGUs that weren’t able to inject that,” Herbosa revealed.

LGUs with record of vaccine spoilage or wastage will be issued a show cause order by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) so that local chief executives could explain their side.

If they could not justify the vaccine spoilage, Herbosa said local chief executives will be filed with administrative charges.

“That is a national government property and if they’ve been handling the vaccines for a long time we will check when it was delivered to them and why it expired,” he said.

“They will be asked to explain to the DILG why case would not be filed against them for wastage of government-procured, even government-donated… government-owned vaccines,” he concluded.