MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said the public should not worry about being inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines which are set to expire next month.
Some 1.5 million AstraZeneca jabs in the Philippines will expire in June, while the rest of the doses from the British manufacturer will spoil by July, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.
"Kailangan maintindihan ng ating mga kababayan na ang pinakamatagal na expiring dates ay 6 months," Vergeire said.
(Our countrymen have to understand that the latest expiration date for vaccines is 6 months.)
"Minsan 'pag dumating sa isang bansa, ganito na 'yung time for expiry," she said.
(Sometimes, when it arrives in the country, there is only a bit of time left before the expiry.)
The Philippines first received its COVID-19 vaccine supply from AstraZeneca in early March, followed by additional deliveries, the latest of which was last Saturday.
So far, a total of 2,556,000 doses have been shipped to the country, courtesy of the COVAX Facility, while 1.2 million more purchased by private firms are expected in June.
The product needs to be administered in two doses, 4 to 12 weeks apart.
Vergeire said the national government expects to administer all AstraZeneca jabs either by the last week of May or by early June.
"Wala po tayong dapat ikabahala. Nakagawa na po ng mekanismo on how we can consume these vaccines," she said.
(We have nothing to worry about. The government has crafted a mechanism on how to consume these vaccines.)
The Philippines earlier suspended the use of AstraZeneca jabs for non-senior citizens after reports that the vaccine caused blood clotting in several recipients overseas.
The DOH eventually resumed the use of the British-developed jabs for those below 60-years old, saying that incidents of post-vaccination blood clotting were very rare.
As of May 10, the Philippines has received 7.76 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from 4 vaccine manufacturers, of which over 2.4 million have been administered.