LGUs allowed to tap reserved Sinovac 2nd dose for new vaccine recipients

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 30 2021 10:28 PM

Video courtesy of Department of Health.

MANILA — The Department of Health is now allowing local government units to use their reserved 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccines to increase the number of those being vaccinated.

“That was part of the discussions and instructions whatever you reserved for the 2nd dose, you can use it as a 1st dose for the other constituents because we will be providing you with additional vaccines,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano during a briefing. 

Cayetano said this was good news as the city’s vaccination sites were already running out of vaccines to administer.

“Napakalaki ng epekto nun,” Cayetano said. “Magsasara na in 2 days yung vaccination center kung hindi nagbigay ng announcement yung DOH.

(That will have a huge effect. Our vaccination centers would have closed in 2 days if the DOH did not give that announcement.)

He said the 10,000 to 15,000 Sinovac vaccines that they have reserved for the 2nd dose can now be given to new vaccine recipients.

Cayetano said the regional director of the DOH told them a few days ago that they can already use up 50% of the reserved doses.

Unlike AstraZeneca, which has an interval of 12 weeks between the 1st and 2nd dose, Sinovac only has an interval of 4 weeks for its 2nd dose. This is why local government units had to reserve the doses to make sure vaccine recipients will get their jabs on time. However, with additional vaccines received by the country this week, the government is confident it will be able to replenish the 2nd doses.

Vergeire said the move was already discussed with Metro Manila mayors and the vaccine cluster of the InterAgency Task Force for COVID-19.

“This has already been given approval,” she said, adding that a portion of the reserved doses can be used up to ensure that the vaccination program is not halted.

The Philippines received an additional 500,000 doses from Sinovac this week. This increased the number of vaccines sent to the Philippines to 4 million. Most of it are from Sinovac and only 525,000 are from AstraZeneca.