‘Gaps’ led to vaccine expiration–Concepcion

The private sector cited the lack of urgency to heed global health protocols as one of the “gaps” that led to the expiration of 4.3 million Covid-19 vaccines in the Philippines.

In a statement on Friday, Go Negosyo founder Jose Maria A. Concepcion III said, “there are clearly several gaps that led to the expiry of the vaccines.”

“Some of those gaps we tried to point out such as the need to listen to the science coming from abroad and to act swiftly considering that our economy is on the line,” he added.

Concepcion was referring to the expiration of about 4.3 million Covid-19 vaccines worth P5.1 billion just a few days after the Department of Health (DOH) allowed the use of second booster shots for adults 50 years old and above, and those who are 18 to 49 years old with comorbidities.

In April, the Go Negosyo founder sounded the alarm on the millions of Covid-19 vaccines that were approaching their expiry dates.

“The DOH, which has the visibility on the inventory, could have stepped in,” said Concepcion. “It would just be a simple computation as the expiry dates are very clear. They knew the levels we all had, from both the private sector, government procurements and donations from abroad.”

As of June 26, there were 29,795,970 available doses in the national cold chain facility, of which over 4 million has an expiration date of July 31.

The Go Negosyo founder said that the Health department, having the pertinent data, could have guided the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC). Concepcion added that guidelines for implementation should have been issued just as swiftly.

During the Go Negosyo town hall meeting held last Friday, Dr. Ted Herbosa, the special adviser of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 said that moving forward, the Health Secretary should, with the help of an executive committee, be able to override decisions especially in the middle of an emergency situation.

OCTA Research’s Professor Ranjit Rye, speaking at a separate forum at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center last Thursday, said “the lack of planning led to the loss of the vaccines.”

Rye added that the government should now define a “comprehensive national Covid-19 strategy or exit plan” that would guide the national and local governments as well as the private sector on how to respond and recover from the pandemic.