MANILA — The Department of Health on Friday said at least 30 COVID-19 vaccine doses were considered wasted after the health office of Misamis Oriental where these were being kept caught fire earlier this week.
It was reported on Wednesday that the provincial health office of Misamis Oriental in Cagayan de Oro was damaged due to a fire. Initial reports said that 50 vials of SInovac vaccines were affected.
But Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual briefing that there were actually 30 vials good for 300 individuals. The DOH later corrected this to say that the 30 vials are single-dose and are enough for only 30 individuals.
“Most probably (wasted). Dahil nagkaroon ng sunog, temperature was high hindi na natin iri-risk na titignan pa at gamitin ang bakuna dahil nagbago na ang temperatura kung sakali. Not unless, the storage of the vaccines or yung ref nila is malayo sa pinangyarihan ng sunog,” she said.
(Most probably. Because there was a fire, temperature was high and we won’t risk using the vaccines because their temperature probable changed already. Not unless the storage of the vaccines or the refrigerator was far from the fire.)
Sinovac and AstraZeneca’s vaccines must be stored in regular refrigerator temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
Vergeire emphasized that such incidents are “accidents.”
However, she assured the public that such wastage is already expected by the government, which is why it has a wastage provision and a buffer stock.
“Ito po ay hindi makakaapekto sa ating bakunahan or immunization program,” she said.
(This won’t affect our vaccination or immunization program.)
As of April 13, the Philippines has administered some 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses after more than a month of rollout, a far number from the target of 70 million by the end of the year to reach herd immunity. This, as the country is still facing a surge in infections, especially in Metro Manila.
Northern Mindanao, the region where Misamis Oriental belongs has so far administered more than 47,000 vaccine doses. It’s supposed to have more than 9,000 doses left to be administered.