MANILA - The private sector lost a total of P5.1 billion from 4,252,830 expired COVID-19 vaccines, Go Negosyo founder and former Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said Wednesday.
Concepcion criticized the Department of Health and the Health Technology Assessment Council's (HTAC) "belated decision" to allow the second booster vaccinations for above 50 years and older and for 18 to 49 year-olds with comorbidities.
In a statement, he said the final batch of AstraZeneca vaccines will expire on July 31, while the last Moderna vaccines expired Wednesday, July 27.
Out of the total, 3,629,150 are Moderna vaccines, he said. This means only Pfizer vaccines are left for first and second boosters, he said.
"The lack of urgency on the part of the HTAC and the DOH at which the vaccination advisories, policies, and implementation progressed caused the bulk disposal of these hard-earned Covid-19 vaccines," Concepcion said, adding that more in government possession could have also expired.
Under a tripartite agreement during the vaccine procurement, the government holds half of the vaccines bought by the private sector.
Concepcion has been appealing to the government to allow the second booster vaccinations since April to save the existing vaccine supply from going to waste. He said the private sector was willing to be vaccinated.
"We first sounded the alarm about low booster uptake in March, and about the expiring vaccines in early April. This could have easily been prevented had the HTAC simply listened and learned from the guidance of the CDC back in March when it recommended additional boosters for those as young as 50 years old,” he said.
“The expiry dates of these vaccines have already been extended and there is nothing more that can be done but to accept this preventable loss,” he said.
But Concepcion said he is hoping for "positive developments" moving forward after President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr made health among his priorities.
The government aims to administer jabs to 23 million eligible individuals within the first 100 days of the Marcos administration.