Private sector has no control over donated Covid-19 vaccines, Concepcion says

The private sector has no control over the Covid-19 vaccines donated to the government, which included 70 percent of wasted vaccines from the private sector.

Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was reiterated by Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

"The majority of the wasted Covid-19 vaccines in the Philippines were not under the safekeeping of the private sector," he said in a statement.

Concepcion shared tallies of its Covid-19 vaccine inventories showing that of the total 23,516,990 doses that the private sector secured through a tripartite agreement with government and the vaccine manufacturers, 9,398,230 doses have expired.

This figure includes the 2,834,495 doses it donated to local governments.

The inventory, however, does not include other private sector initiatives, but Concepcion pointed out that these, too, would be under the custody of the government.

According to Concepcion, the private sector has noted that there have been gaps in the government’s monitoring and reporting of the inventory, especially of the vaccines that it donated as part of the tripartite agreement.

He explained that because Covid-19 vaccines are still under Emergency Use Authorization, only the government can engage in their purchase and administration, including assessing how many more it needed to buy and add to the private sector donations.

The government, he added, also conducts inventory on vaccines nearing their expiry dates so that it can be used first before procuring more.

Among the factors cited by the government as contributing to the wastage of the vaccines were short shelf life and temperature excursion. It also noted from its inventories that some vials were not opened or used at all.

“Private sector has always been proactive in pushing for vaccinations,” said Concepcion. “In fact we were the ones asking the HTAC (Health Technology Assessment Council) to adopt the US FDA guidelines just so we can speed up the booster vaccinations,” he said.

In July, millions of Covid-19 vaccines worth billions of pesos expired just days after second boosters were allowed for adults 50 years and older, and those 18 to 49 years with comorbidities.

“There are clearly several gaps that led to the expiry of the vaccines,” Concepcion said. “Some of those gaps we tried to point out, such as the need to listen to the science coming from abroad, and to act swiftly considering that our economy is on the line,” he said.

“We need to learn from this experience and lay down clear guidelines for vaccinations,” he added.