BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Another batch of near-expiry COVID-19 vaccines was almost delivered to Negros Occidental last week, if not for the refusal of the provincial government.
Provincial Inter Agency Task Force action officer Rayfrando Diaz yesterday revealed that they declined to accept the COVID-19 vaccines, the brand he did not identify, with an expiry date December this year, which was supposed to arrive last week.
In response to their request, Diaz said the national government sent vaccines with an expiry date of January next year.
At least our vaccinees are confident that they are not receiving near-expiry vaccines, he stressed.
The 14,620 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines that expired on November 30, which form part of the vaccines sent to the provincial government of Negros Occidental, are now being kept at the cold storage facility of the Provincial Health Office.
The Department of Health (DOH) said it is currently coordinating with the vaccine manufacturers if there is a possibility to extend the shelf-life of their respective vaccines which have already expired or are near expiry.
DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said about two million vaccines will expire by the end of this month and January. Meanwhile, at least 100,000 vaccines that have already expired were currently placed in cold chain facilities.
Despite threats of incoming Typhoon Odette that may hit the province, the COVID-19 vaccination in Negros Occidental continues, as they released two days of supply of vaccines to the different local government units.
If they (LGUs) are facing difficulties of bringing vaccinees to the center, it is understandable. But again, we don’t want to delay and stop the momentum of LGUs in their vaccination activities.
On the other hand, Malacañang spokesperson Karlo Nograles announced yesterday that the Inter Agency Task Force has approved the recommendation to keep all areas in the country under Alert Level 2 from December 16 to 31.*