Hontiveros: PH can’t afford any more COVID-19 vaccine wastage

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday, November 21, urged the Department of Health (DOH) to do its best to prevent vaccine wastage saying the Philippines cannot afford to lose billions of funds amid an economic crisis and the need to fund essential government programs.

Hontiveros said the DOH itself knows the drivers of vaccine wastage “and I trust that they can increase their efforts to reduce the wastage.”

“The fact remains na pataas ng pataas pa din ang rate of vaccine wastage (the rate of vaccine wastage is increasing and still increasing). There is a steady trend of waste which means that efforts to curb it have been ineffective so far,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

Even if the World Health Organization (WHO) adjusted the threshhold, the senator said the Phillipines clearly cannot afford the cost of wastage.

“Wala tayong luxury na magtapon ng mas mataas pa sa P15.6-bilyon sa kaliwa't kanang krisis at demand for funding of equally important government programs (We do not have the luxury of throwing more than P15.6-billion with crisis happening left and right, and demand for funding of equally important government programs),” Hontiveros stressed.

More importantly, the opposition senator said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his entire Cabinet should step in to ensure an accelerated vaccination program.

“After all, their policies create the public perception that the pandemic is over kaya mas nakakampante ang mga kababayan nating huwag magpabakuna at magpa-booster (that’s why so many of our compatriots are more complacent not to get vaccinated and get boosters),” the lawmaker lamented.

It was earlier disclosed during a hearing on the 2023 national budget that about P15.6-billion worth of COVID-19 vaccines, or 31.3 million doses were either wasted or not used.