COVID-19 vaccine wastage nears 50M doses

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 15) — COVID-19 vaccine wastage has reached 49.7 million doses since the start of the pandemic, latest government data showed.

In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, the Department of Health's (DOH) budget sponsor Pia Cayetano said 38.54 million doses have expired without being used.

Minority Leader Sen. Koko Pimentel estimated the vaccine wastage at ₱24.865 billion at ₱500 per dose.

"We'd like to emphasize na napaka-iksi talaga ng shelf life ng COVID vaccines, 6 months 'yun and then ‘yung mga na-donate pa is 3 months," Cayetano said.

[Translation: We'd like to emphasize that the shelf life of the COVID vaccines is very short. That's 6 months and for the donated ones 3 months.]

Of the 49.7 million wasted vaccines, the senator said 26.2 million doses were donated by other countries, while 23.7 million shots were procured by the government.

Cayetano said the data were included in a DOH report reviewing the country's COVID-19 response. The report was submitted to the Office of the Executive Secretary.

But the report does not contain a financial record of the total amount that the country spent in response to the pandemic, she added.

The senator also clarified that the country will not be procuring COVID-19 vaccines in the 2024 budget, but the government will be accepting 500,000 doses donated by COVAX.

CNN Philippines correspondent Eimor Santos contributed to this report.