DOH: 10,000 doses wasted due to temperature excursion

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
DOH: 10,000 doses wasted due to temperature excursion
A dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at Clalit Health Services, in a gymnasium in the central Israeli city of Hod Hasharon, on Feb. 4, 2021.
AFP / Jack Guez

MANILA, Philippines — Some 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been wasted primarily due to “temperature excursion,” the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

According to DOH Undersecretary and National Vaccine Operation Center head Myrna Cabotaje, some 10,000 jabs have already been registered as “wastage.”

Cabotaje said the “biggest wastage” was incurred in a storage facility at a major vaccination site in Filinvest, Muntinlupa City.

The temperature in the facility changed reportedly due to mishandling by the local government unit and vaccine safety officers. This resulted in temperature excursion.

She noted in a radio interview that vaccine wastage also took place when some vials were dropped and were found to have no labels.

The wastage includes the vaccines that were damaged during a fire incident in South Cotabato, and jabs that were spoiled after being left in a freezer that was unplugged in North Cotabato.

Cabotaje said that while 10,000 doses is “small” compared to the more than 40 million doses already administered, it is still regrettable that there is vaccine wastage.

“It’s too bad. That’s why for every incident, we study the reasons so we can avoid it from happening again. We want to avoid any wastage,” she maintained.

Based on the National COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard, a total of 41,247,552 doses were already administered as of Sept. 18. Of this, 22,771,602 were given as first dose.

There are now 18,475,950 fully vaccinated individuals in the country.

The goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity, a condition wherein even the unvaccinated are protected.

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