Duque: Gov’t donating excess vaccine doses to other countries
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday the Philippine government is looking at donating several COVID-19 vaccine doses to Myanmar, Cambodia, and some African countries, as the country’s current supply is “stable.”
During a Laging Handa briefing, Duque said the country’s vaccine stockpile has continuously increased since October 2021, and with some doses nearing expiration, the government decided to give away supplies to countries with low vaccination coverage.
“‘Yung hindi magagamit at malapit nang mag-expire, ang desisyon diyan ay i-donate sa mga bansang mababa ang vaccine coverage. Maganda naman ‘yang layunin na ‘yan para makatulong din tayo sa mga kapatid natin mula sa ibang bansa na namamayagpag pa din ang COVID-19 pero ang suplay ng bakuna ay kulang na kulang,” he said.
[Donating near-expiry vaccine doses we won’t be able to use is a good goal as we can help other countries where COVID-19 is still thriving, but vaccine is in short supply.]
“Tinitingnan ‘yung Myanmar, Cambodia, at ilang bansa sa Africa. Pero kung ilan ‘yung bakunang mado-donate, ‘yan pa ay binubuo pa ng ating National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC),” he added.
(We are looking at Myanmar, Cambodia, and several countries in Africa. The NVOC is still determining how many vaccines will be donated.)
Duque added that AstraZeneca has extended to three months the shelf life of its near-expiry vaccine doses, but are subject to the approval of the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“Doon sa malapit nang mag-expire, ay na-extend naman, magandang balita. Pumayag naman ang AstraZeneca pero ang FDA na lang ang hinihintay natin para ma-aprubahan ‘yung kanilang extension ng shelf life by three months,” Duque said.
[It’s good news that the shelf life of vaccines that are about to expire has been extended. AstraZeneca agreed to this but we are just waiting for the FDA to approve the extension by three months.]
However, he pointed out that AstraZeneca vaccine doses that are about to expire will remain in the Philippines and will no longer be donated should the FDA approve the extension of their shelf life.
At least 1.8 million more Filipinos are targeted to receive the anti-COVID primary and booster doses during the three-day Bayanihan, Bakunahan 4 that kicked off on Thursday.
Duque earlier noted that about 71% of the country’s target population of 90 million are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. –LBG, GMA News