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Health exec confident 2M AstraZeneca vax used before expiration

May 14, 2021 - Friday 1:05 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image A senior citizen getting vaccinated. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – National Task Force Against Covid-19 Special Adviser, Dr. Teodoro Herbosa is confident the Philippines will be able to use the two million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines recently delivered through the COVAX Facility before they expire in June and July.

"Ako sa tingin ko walang masasayang diyan kasi 'yong kalahating milyon diyan ibibigay na natin as second dose para sa mga nabigyan natin nong una (I believe this won't be wasted because half-million is already allocated for those having their second dose)," he said in a radio interview on Thursday.

The first 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine delivered last March were already administered as the first dose for front-liners, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities, he said.

Of the two million fresh batch of donations, Herbosa noted that 1.5 million are expiring on June 30 and the remaining 500,000 on July 31.

Herbosa said the COVAX Facility would not release the said amount of vaccines if it thinks the Philippines would not be able to roll them out as soon as possible.

"Hindi 'yan ibibigay ng COVAX kung sa tingin nila'y hindi kayang ubusin ng Pilipinas kasi maraming bansang nanghihingi so ina-analyze ng COVAX or WHO (World Health Organization) 'yong absorptive capacity ng isang country (COVAX won't give them if they think the Philippines cannot utilize them because there are a lot of countries also asking for said vaccines that's why COVAX or WHO analyzes the absorptive capacity of a country first)," he said.

"So nakita nila na maganda 'yong ating vaccine deployment program at iyon nga mayron tayong mga mayor na naghihintay ng dose nila dahil mabilis silang magbakuna (I think they saw our vaccine deployment program and another thing is that we have mayors who are really waiting for additional doses)," he added.

Herbosa said the country has about 3,200 vaccination sites, soon to be augmented by the construction of mega vaccination facilities.

"Ilagay mo lang 'yon sa 100 vaccinees a day, 300,000 a day na ang kaya nating bakunahan so 'yong problema ng supply na nagiging reklamo nung ibang mga mayors noon ay hindi na natin magiging problema sa dami ng na-deliver sa atin (Say you get to vaccinate 100 a day that's already 300,000 daily so I think the supply won't be an issue anymore)," he said. Joyce Ann L. Rocamora