COVAX eyeing to replace PH-procured expiring COVID jabs, says health official

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2022 12:19 PM | Updated as of May 27 2022 01:10 PM

 Arrival of 193k Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines from Covax facility May 10, 2021 at the NAIA Terminal 2, Pasay City.  PCOO-OGMPA
Arrival of 193k Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines from Covax facility May 10, 2021 at the NAIA Terminal 2, Pasay City.  PCOO-OGMPA

MANILA - Global alliance COVAX Facility is considering replacing expiring COVID-19 vaccines procured by the Philippine government and its private sector, the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) said Friday.

Nearly 2 million jabs will expire by end of June, according to NVOC chairperson Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje.

"From the communication we received from COVAX, replacement for vaccines includes vaccines from all sources, 'di lang po yung galing sa kanila (not just those it donated)," she said in a televised briefing.

"They will also consider some of the vaccines that have been procured by the national government, even by the private sector and our local governments. Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang ating coordination with COVAX (Our coordination with COVAX is continuous)."

The Philippines has fully vaccinated 69.1 million persons or 76.87 percent of the eligible 90 million population as of Thursday, Cabotaje said. Some 171,848 individuals have received a second booster as of Wednesday, she added.

The current administration aims to fully inoculate 77 million before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down on June 30.

"Yes with great effort we hope we can achieve the 77 million. Pinagiibayo ang ating bakunahan sa (We're ramping up our vaccination drive among) 5-11 years old... Kailangan din hanapin ang 'di pa nakaka-second dose kasi sila makakataas ng ating fully vaccinated status," Cabotaje said.

(We also need to look for those still without a second dose.)

It will be up to the next administration whether to retain the current inter-agency and national task force against COVID-19, Cabotaje added.

"The NTF and NVOC is prepared to hand over documents and to brief. We’re just waiting ano ang susunod na direction (what will be next directions)," she said.

"We’re now endorsing to the different concerned bureaus para ma-institutionalize ang dati nang ginagawa ng NVOC, including sa ating IATF... Bahala na po ang susunod na administration kung magkakaroon sila ng inter-agency, ireretain ang NTF structure or gagawa sila ng panibagong structure."

(We’re now endorsing to the different concerned bureaus so the NVOC's procedures can be institutionalized, including the IATF's... It is up to the next administration whether they will have an inter-agency, retain the NTF structure or make a new structure."

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