Hospitals told: Use all AstraZeneca vaccine supply by Mar. 24
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Hospitals and healthcare workers in Central Visayas are urged to exhaust their supplies of AstraZeneca vaccines before Wednesday, March 24.
The Department of Health in the region (DOH-7) on Tuesday, March 23, made this call following orders from their central office that unused AstraZeneca vaccines by March 25 will be recalled.
DOH-7 spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said on Tuesday that they are aiming to use all 30,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines allocated for Central Visayas before Tuesday will end.
Based on DOH-7’s data, a total of 12,728 doses of the vaccines manufactured by the British pharmaceutical giant were already administered to healthcare workers as of March 22.
This means that health officials here still need to inject over 17,000 doses of the vaccines to medical frontliners to achieve a 100 percent accomplishment rate by Wednesday.
“Vaccination (using AstraZeneca) is still ongoing and as of March 22, we have 10 reporting hospitals with ongoing AstraZeneca vaccinations,” added Loreche.
But in the event that they will not be able to complete the rollout for the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccines in the region on Tuesday, Loreche said they might extend the deadline up to March 24.
“We are in a hurry because if we cannot use these vaccines at our level then maybe another region might be needing it. So why the need to hoard the vaccines when we cannot dispose of them (quickly)? I hope it does not happen here in Region 7,” explained Loreche in a mix of English and Cebuano.
“This is why we’re calling to the hospitals to fast-track the rollout as well as the healthcare workers who volunteered to receive AstraZeneca but are yet to receive the first dose to have themselves vaccinated,” she added.
DOH on March 22 has given hospitals until Wednesday to administer all their AstraZeneca doses on hand, or else these will be recalled and given to other hospitals with surging COVID-19 cases.
The vaccines should not be stored for a long time since they are intended to protect health workers, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
DOH is banking on the assurance of the World Health Organization (WHO) that the next delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in the next two weeks so all those given the first dose will get their second dose on time.
“With that commitment from WHO, we have decided to give the vaccines to as many health-care workers as we can to protect them against rising cases,” Vergeire added.
Doses of AstraZeneca were rolled out exclusively for health workers, including those 60 years old and above, on March 6. / with reports from Philippine Daily Inquirer.
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