MANILA — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Monday he does not have any information on donated COVID-19 vaccines allegedly being wasted due to mishandling.
A message circulating claims that almost 50,000 doses of donated COVID-19 vaccines were mishandled by a logistics company that did not meet the standards of the government.
“I heard that, but there were no clear details given. So that is something that has to be investigated,” Duque told ABS-CBN News when asked about the message.
Duque said it was unlikely though for AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines to be mishandled since they “are not requiring ultra low storage temperature.”
Unlike Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines that are required to be frozen, the vaccine brands received so far by the country only require normal refrigerator temperature.
“I cannot understand how they can be allowed to be be mismanaged in a temperature that is easy to be achieved,” Duque said. “So that’s something we have to look into.”
The health official said all government inventories of COVID-19 vaccines are with the company Metropac in Marikina City.
“They’re strictly following the storage temperature requirement,” Duque said.
Asked if there are any reported wastage among the government inventory, he said there are reports of “very very miniscule percentage of wastage”, but it is still “premature” to make any conclusions.
The Philippines is currently rolling out its COVID-19 vaccines to health workers. As of March 13, more than 193,000 health workers have been vaccinated.
The government plans to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos by the end of the year to reach herd immunity against the coronavirus.
- With reports from Raphael Bosano and Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News