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Philippines vaccine wastage at 8.42% as of Aug. 12 —Vergeire

The Philippines has reported 8.42% vaccine wastage as of August 12, Department of Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire told a Senate panel Monday.

"The Philippines reported 8.42% COVID-19 vaccine wastage as of August 12, 2022," Vergeire said during the Senate committee on health and demography hearing.

According to Health Undersecretary Carol Taino, this rate is equivalent to 20,660,359 doses which is divided into two classifications-- the opened and the unopened vials.

This 8.42% vaccine wastage is lower than the 10% indicative wastage rate used by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to Vergeire, the most common reasons for the wastage are expiration, operations-related issues including vaccines that were opened but were not injected, spillage, broken vials, backflow, leftover underdose, among others.

She also mentioned that there was vaccine wastage due to natural disasters like Typhoon Odette in the latter part of 2021, fire, and earthquakes.

There were also vaccines that were not utilized due to temperature control issues.

"[There were] thawed vaccines but were not used and temperature excursions and the presence of a particular matter or discoloration in the vials of the vaccine," she said.

At the latter part of the hearing, Senator Risa Hontiveros pointed out that vaccine wastage had risen from 2.7% in June 2022 to 8.4% in August.

"Ibig sabihin mula June 2022... 'yung 4.7% wastage e halos dumoble pa nung Agosto to 8.4 percent bagamat nga sabi nga ng DOH witihin acceptable limit, of course, 10 percent ng WHO, but still the fact na dumoble, sayang talaga," she said.

(This means from June 2022... the 4.7% wastage alsmost doubled to 8.4% in August. Though the DOH did say that that was within acceptable limits, which is 10% according to the WHO. But still, the fact that it doubled, it's such a waste.)

"Hind ba't may vaccine czar at tsaka inter-agency body tayo na nangunguna at nangangasiwa sa buong national vaccination program, yet here we are. Hindi pwedeng highly effective sa sourcing ng vaccines pero problematic at inefficient vaccine administration," she stressed.

(Don't we have a vaccine czar and an inter-agency body that leads and overseas the entire national vaccination program? Yet here we are. We can't have a highly effective vaccine sourcing but a problematic and inefficient vaccine administration.)

Based on the DOH's analysis, Vergeire explained that the 134 million doses procured by the national government did not have any wastage or expiries.

She said six percent of the donations to the government had expired, 22 percent of vaccines procured by the local government units had expired while 40 percent of the privately-procured vials had been wasted.

Earlier, Hontiveros filed a resolution seeking a Senate investigation into the estimated P5 to P13 billion unused and expired vaccines.

The Senate health and demography conducted its first hearing to tackle the general health situation in the Philippines, COVID-19 situation, dengue situation, updates on the Universal Health Care Law implementation, containment of monkeypox, and procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.—AOL, GMA News