More than 170,000 COVID vaccines wasted in Central Visayas
Majority expired doses
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Due to Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai), the number of wasted COVID-19 vaccines in Central Visayas has reached more than 170,000 doses, local health officials reported.
The Visayas Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC) on Thursday, March 10, revealed that they already recorded a wastage of 171,703 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, as of February 28. The figures could be translated to 171,703 individuals who may have the opportunity to get the jab.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of VVOC and chief pathologist of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7), said most of the wasted vaccines were expired ones.
The expired vaccines were not put into use following the devastation Odette last December that also halted ongoing vaccination drives, she said.
“Tandaan po natin, meron tayong Super Typhoon Odette (noong December). Nabigyan tayo (nang mga bakuna) na maexpire and hindi naipamigay kasi nga naman, nahirapan tayo (sa pagbabakuna). At we were in a calamity,” explained Loreche.
But authorities assured the public that wasted vaccine in Central Visayas remains minimal.
“These are considered minimal if computed against the administered doses. (Majority of) these already-expired AstraZeneca vaccines would not have expired if we didn’t have super typhoon Odette. We were unable to do the vaccination as infrastructure was affected, power and connectivity out, and manpower was mostly affected by the calamity,” Loreche pointed out.
“Kahit anong gawin natin, there will always be wastage of vaccine,” she added.
Based on available data from VVOC, Central Visayas has received around 10.1 million COVID-19 vaccines as of February 27. Of this number, 8.9 million have already been administered.
Central Visayas, particularly Cebu and Bohol, were badly hit by Odette last December 16, 2021, the same day the rest of the country was doing its second National Vaccination Days.
Power and communications immediately went down.
It took several days for utility firms and authorities to restore energy in vital establishments, including hospitals and other health institutions storing COVID-19 vaccines.
In addition, the lack of stable electricity and internet connection prompted local governments to halt their vaccination drives. /rcg
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