PH finalizing vaccine donation to Myanmar, Papua New Guinea

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 5) — The government is finalizing plans to donate some of the country’s unused COVID-19 vaccines to Myanmar and Papua New Guinea, as the Philippines is at risk of wasting 27 million shots set to expire in three months.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Tuesday they are verifying what brand and how many doses the country can send to the two nations.

"We are still finalizing our inventories. We are finalizing our arrangements with the two countries. Hindi lahat ng excess natin sa stockpile ay ido-donate. Magdo-donate lang tayo ng kailangan nila at sa tingin natin maaari natin itulong," she said in a media briefing.

[Translation: Not all excess vaccines in our stockpile will be donated. We will only donate what they need and how much we can help.]

Around 27 million COVID-19 vaccine shots, pegged at over ₱13 billion, in the country's stockpile will expire in July. Officials said most of the doses were either donated by other countries or procured by local governments and the private sector.

Acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar said several agency secretaries have requested the Office of the President to donate some of the government-procured vaccines.

The country has fully vaccinated 66.2 million Filipinos, while only 12.2 million have received their booster shots. Vergeire urged 46.8 million eligible individuals to get their booster shot to give them continuous protection against COVID-19 and prevent the mutation of coronavirus variants.

She added countries with high booster uptake have seen fewer deaths during recent surges.