Drilon sounds alarm, disappointment over 27-M unused, nearly-expired vaccines

Drilon sounds alarm, disappointment over 27-M unused, nearly-expired vaccines

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon expressed strong disappointment as approximately 27 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines remain unused and are in danger of expiring.

Drilon took to task once again the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 for what he called “a callous disregard for the taxpayers” as he underscored that each centavo that was used for the purchase of the anti-coronavirus vaccines come from the taxpayers.

“More than two years into the pandemic, the IATF still manages to mismanage the government’s response to the pandemic. It is unconscionable that the vaccines that were purchased through loans could end up in the garbage,” Drilon said.

“It is criminal neglect if they let that happen. I’d like to remind the DOH and the IATF that it is Juan dela Cruz who will pay for these vaccines,” he added. He underscored that the purchase of millions of COVID-19 vaccines raised the country’s debt stock from P9 trillion pre-pandemic to P12 trillion as of February 2022.

At P500 per dose, the government is throwing away P13.5 billion if the 27 million doses are not administered within the next three months, according to Drilon.

Drilon said that these P13.5 billion could have been used instead to augment the Ayuda for PUV drivers and operators affected by the astronomical increase in the prices of fuel.

The minority leader said that the government should not allow the doses to expire, as he pointed out that still, a considerable number of Filipinos have not yet received their booster shots.

“I hope we are not resting on our laurels. The coronavirus is still within our midst. We must ramp up our vaccination efforts. We have 27 million doses of vaccines that are close to their expiration dates. The DOH and IATF should distribute in the most efficient manner,” Drilon stressed.

“Huwag naman nating ipamana sa susunod na administrasyon ang expired na bakuna,” Drilon said. (ai/mtvn)

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