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DOH: 47.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses wasted

DOH: 47.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses wasted

The country’s COVID-19 vaccine wastage is now at 49.7 million, the Department of Health (DOH)  reported on Wednesday.

The latest government data was disclosed at the Senate plenary deliberations on DOH’s proposed P353.269 billion budget for next year.

“The vaccine wastage of COVID vaccine wastage is 49.730 million doses,” Senator Pia Cayetano, who defended the DOH’s budget, said.

According to the DOH, 38.54 million of the 49.730 million wasted vaccine doses were because of the expiration beyond shelf life.

 “We’d like to emphasize na napaka-iksi talaga ng shelf life ng COVID vaccines, six months po ‘yun and then ‘yung mga na-donate pa ho is three months [shelf life]. Meron pa nga daw one month lang. It’s something that in a way… does not surprise the experts because with a shelf life that short talagang maeexpire-an tayo ng ganun,” she said, citing DOH’s  explanation.

Of the 49.730 million, 26.2 million vaccine doses were from donations.

At P500 per dose, Cayetano confirmed that P11 billion to P12 billion public funds were wasted due to the unused COVID-19 vaccines procured by the Philippine government.

Meanwhile, Cayetano said there is no budget for COVID-19 vaccines under the proposed 2024 spending plan.

This is because of the COVAX facilities’ donation of bivalent vaccines to the Philippines, she said.

“At least, we have a categorical answer. We will no longer (be) appropriating any fund for the procurement of vaccines in the 2024 budget,” Pimentel noted.

The budget of the DOH is deemed submitted for Senate plenary’s approval. — BAP, GMA Integrated News