MANILA - The government should speed up its coronavirus vaccination efforts and tap the help of the private sector, a former adviser to the government's coronavirus task force said Wednesday, as millions of vaccine shots near expiration.
The government "should just give the stocks that will expire in June to the competent private sector then let them do the vaccination," Dr. Tony Leachon, a former member of the Philippines COVID-19 panel said.
Philippines' roll out of COVID-19 vaccines has been "super slow" in the past week, Leachon lamented, citing Philippines' daily average rate of vaccination.
- May 3 — 33,039 per day
- May 4 — 36,343 per day
- May 5 — 40,542 per day
- May 6 — 48,687 per day
- May 7 — 56,361 per day
- May 8 — 64,900 per day
- May 9 — 62,654 per day
"Average rates of vaccination in the past 7 days: super slow," he said in a tweet.
"At this rate we can never finish the ASTRA ZENECA 1.5M stocks that will expire in June," he said.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier confirmed that 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.
"Local government units still loaded with Sinovac stocks. We have not yet finished the 3M doses of Sinovac," Leachon said.
"For the most of us, the higher the reported numbers of daily infections and deaths go, the more unbearable the wait for the vaccine roll out seems to become," he said.
The national government already has a plan on how to consume the soon-to-expire vaccines, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
The 1.5 million jabs expiring in June will be given as first doses, while the 525,000 others would be administered to those who need second doses of the British-developed vaccines, she said.
"We have distributed already and we are speeding up vaccination," she said.
"Nakita naman po natin na kaya nating ma-consume at hindi po ito masasayang," she said.
The government "should just give the stocks that will expire in June to the competent private sector then let them do the vaccination," Leachon said.
"They (private sector) can just give back what they got when their stocks arrive in June," he said, referring to the 1.3 million AstraZeneca jabs set to arrive for private firms next month.
The national government should also begin inoculating frontline personnel in essential sectors, including uniformed personnel, to speed up the consumption of COVID-19 vaccines, Leachon said.
So far, the Philippines has vaccinated 2.4 million Filipinos, mostly senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, and health workers.
The Philippines hopes to inoculate some 70 million people this year to achieve herd immunity against the disease that has infected at least 1 million people in the country.