March 10, 2023
MANILA — The country’s COVID-19 vaccine wastage may reach 50 million doses by the end of March, Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire confirmed on Thursday.
“I confirm that this would be the amount if we already include those to expire until the end of March of this year,” Vergeire replied when Senate blue ribbon committee chairperson Senator Francis Tolentino asked if 50.74 million vaccine doses are expected to expire (44 million already expired and 6.74 million that are about to expire).
Tolentino further pressed if the figure may still soar due to vaccine hesitancy.
Vergeire responded: “Yes, that might happen.”
The Department of Health, however, is carrying out measures to intensify vaccine coverage, Vergeire said.
“We are doing all things possible now so that we can intervene and be able to ramp up again the vaccination,” she said.
“Unfortunately, until now, the rates are still the same but we’ve tried to integrate already the COVID-19 vaccination in our regular community programs whereby the vaccines now are more accessible to our Filipino people anytime and anywhere, they can already access the vaccines through their health facilities,” Vergeire added.
According to Vergeire, COVID-19 immunization averages 46,000 weekly.
Based on latest government data, 73.8 million individuals or 94.62 percent of the qualified population are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, only 27.65 percent of the eligible population or 21.5 million persons have received a booster shot.