Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire

DOH asks private sector not to procure bivalent COVID-19 jabs yet to avoid wastage

Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday appealed to the private sector not to procure doses of COVID-19 bivalent vaccines yet to avoid further vaccine wastage.

“We are strongly advising the private sector at this point to just rely on the national government’s procurement so that we can prevent further wastage of our vaccines since we still have a lot of these monovalent vaccines in the country which we can use as boosters for our population,” Vergeire said in an interview on CNN Philippines.

The private sector is allowed to procure the second-generation vaccines targeted against the Omicron variant through the mechanisms of the national government, based on the existing law.

But Vergeire noted that around 26 million COVID-19 vaccines remain unused. Of these unused vaccines, around 16 million doses are in the national warehouse, while 10 million have been distributed to various local government units.

That’s on top of the 24 million doses that have already expired.

Meanwhile, the DOH is expecting around one million doses of bivalent COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines donated by the COVAX facility to arrive by the end of March.

For this initial donated batch of bivalent vaccines, Vergeire said the priority will be healthcare workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidities.

So far, the Food and Drug Administration has already issued an emergency use authorization for the bivalent vaccines of Moderna and Pfizer.

There are 73.8 million Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at present, while 21.3 million have received their booster shots. -Giselle Ombay / VAL, GMA Integrated News

This article DOH asks private sector not to procure bivalent COVID-19 jabs yet to avoid wastage was originally published in GMA News Online.

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