Senator calls on DOH to fast track release of vaccines still in gov’t facilities

Senator calls on DOH to fast track release of vaccines still in govât facilities
This photo shows the procured 1 million doses of Sinovac being loaded into a Philippine Airlines plane, with its arrival expected by the afternoon of March 29
Facebook / Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Nancy Binay on Thursday urged the Department of Health to swiftly release all COVID-19 jabs still in storage facilities to help meet increased demand as the government starts vaccinating economic frontliners. 

According to Binay, vaccination centers are closing in Metro Manila due to late deliveries from the DOH. 

This, even as the government this month opened vaccination slots up to most workers, the fourth priority group or A4 which Binay's office said is comprised of about 35.5 million people nationwide as per government data. 

"We all want to be well and the economy to recover. If these vaccines remain stored in warehouses and do not reach the LGUs on time, not only will we be seeing a lot of empty tents and chairs. We are exposing a big percentage of our workforce to more contagious variants," Binay warned partially in Filipino.

"As of this week, there are still many vaccines stored in DOH storage facilities so it seems hard to accept that nothing can be given to vaccination centers in Manila, Marikina and Antipolo," she added. 

Government figures cited by the senator's office show that there are still close to a million doses in storage facilities, leftover from a total stockpile of 9.3 million shots, 8.6 million of which have been deployed and over 6 million administered. 

"There are another 2 million doses of Pfizer coming... plus 1 million each of Sputnik and Sinovac. I hope the DOH will release and release the vaccines immediately so that our countrymen can benefit from them immediately," Binay said. 

As of June 8, some 1.68 million Filipino have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, still far from the government’s goal of at least 50 million individuals inoculated to achieve “population protection.”

Meanwhile, 4.63 million have received the first of two doses.

— Bella Perez-Rubio

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