Eleazar favors use of vaccines as booster shots to avoid wastage

Eleazar favors use of vaccines as booster shots to avoid wastage

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A nurse checks the expiration date on the label of a Covid-19 vaccine. (Photo: Tatler Asia)

By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Reacting to a report that there are thousands of doses of Covid-19 vaccines expired in the previous month, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and senatorial aspirant Guillermo Eleazar enjoined local government officials to ramp up their information drive to educate those who are hesitant to be vaccinated in order to avoid the expiration of more vaccines which would mean a huge waste of public funds.

Prior to the retired general’s appeal, National Vaccinations Operations Center (NVOC) chairman and health undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje had confirmed that more than 14,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines went to waste in November and next month and this coming January, more AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines will be expiring without being availed by those needing protection from Covid-19.

In a radio interview, however, Cabotaje assured that the Department of Health (DoH) is already taking the necessary steps to prevent more wastage of vaccines and they are also pushing local government executives (LGEs) down to the barangay level to find effective ways to convince more people to be inoculated.

“Yes, there are AstraZeneca and Moderna that are expiring. Sabi nga namin short talaga ang shelf life ng mga vaccine na ito, so ang ginawa po natin ay konti-konti na lang ang distribution sa iba’t ibang parte. Ibig sabihin, imbes na malalaking bagsak iyan, maliliit na lang para mas malawak at mas mabilis ang distribution,” the health official pointed out.

At the same time, she said the DoH is now conducting a thorough investigation over the expiration of more than 14,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines in Negros Occidental.

“May mga AstraZeneca given in October pero hindi nai-jab. Iniimbestigahan natin iyan. Hindi naman kami nagkulang sa amin. Iyong pag-distribute, iyong pagbakuna sa baba ang titingnan natin kung ano ang naging problema,” she disclosed.

“Ibig sabihin, imbes na malalaking bagsak iyan, maliliit na lang para mas malawak at mas mabilis ang distribution,” she noted.

In reaction, Eleazar, who is running for senator under Partido Reporma, actualized the sentiments of several private groups who had asked the authorities to allow them to use available vaccines, particularly those nearing expiration, to be used as booster shots for their employees and close relatives in order to give them more protection from Covid-19.

“Mas mainam na payagan nang gamitin ang mga bakuna bilang booster shot ngayon inaprubahan na naman ito ng FDA (Food and Drug Administration) kaysa masira ang mga ito at masayang. Mas makakabuti kung mapapakinabangan natin ang mga ito,” the former PNP chief stressed. (ai/mtvn)

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