MANILA – The National Task Force Against COVID-19 and the Department of Health on Monday addressed concerns regarding 27 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that are set to expire in July.
In a joint statement, the NTF and the DOH clarified that most of these COVID-19 vaccine doses were either donated to the Philippines or were bought by the local governments and private sector.
"We made sure from the very start to ensure that there will be enough vaccines available on hand. The national government, local government units, and the private sector all placed orders for vaccines," it read.
"No one could guarantee for certain that manufacturers could deliver at the scale and schedule our people required. Hence, decisions were made to secure as many doses as could be obtained from wherever they could be sourced."
The NTF and the DOH also said only 2 percent of the country's COVID-19 vaccines have been wasted, and these may be due to supply chain inefficiencies or errors in dose administration.
"Only 2% percent of COVID-19 vaccines procured by the national government are considered wastage (meaning, due to supply chain inefficiencies or errors in dose administration, for example), far less than the 10% indicative wastage rate used by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the planning and forecasting of vaccine supply needs," it said.
The government is working with manufacturers to extend the shelf life of the vaccines, the NTF and DOH said, as they encourage the public to avail of the COVID-19 vaccines.
"Moving forward, the DOH and NTF are working with manufacturers to extend the shelf life of vaccines based on updated scientific data such as updated stability studies. We will also continue and even intensify or innovate in the measures meant to increase coverage of both the primary series and booster doses, and where needed, recommend that the Philippines donate excess yet viable doses as an international act of goodwill," it said.
"We ask all of our kababayans to please get vaccinated and also, for those not yet up to date, to get boosted. Let us not wait for any possible new variants before we take action to protect ourselves and our families."
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion earlier said that 27 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are set to expire in July, which he said would be a waste of "Filipino taxpayers’ money" if left unused.
He also urged unvaccinated Filipinos to get inoculated or boosted against COVID-19.