DOH: Expired Covid-19 vaccines could exceed 50M by end-March

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 9) – Covid-19 vaccine wastage could exceed 50 million by the end of March, the Department of Health (DOH) disclosed on Thursday.

At the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee probe into DOH's vaccine procurement on the pretext of a non-disclosure agreement, panel chairman Sen. Francis Tolentino asked if total vaccine wastage could reach 50.74 million.

“I confirm this would be the amount if we already include those to expire until the end of March this year,” DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire responded.

Of the 50.74 million wasted vaccines mentioned by Tolentino, 44 million are vaccine doses that have already expired while 6.74 million are those that will expire by the end of this month.

Vergeire also bared that the country had 6,955,350 vaccine doses under quarantine and those that were approaching expiry date.

“We are still awaiting from the manufacturers and the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] if these [quarantined vaccine doses] can be allowed to have an extension of the shelf life," she said.

Tolentino then asked Vergiere: “Do you agree with me, even if we extend the shelf life of all the vaccines in your inventory, if these will not be used because of vaccine hesitancy…they will add up to more than 60 million [vaccines wasted] in the long run?”

Vergeire replied in the affirmative and added that the DOH is working to upscale the country’s vaccination program to address the wastage problem.