News Release

Gov’t to conduct aggressive immunization campaign to avoid vaccine wastage — President Duterte

The government will try to maximize the use of COVID-19 vaccines that will expire soon or donate them to countries with low vaccination coverage to avoid wastage, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Tuesday.

In his weekly address, President Duterte said it’s not the government’s fault to buy vaccines commensurate to the number of Filipinos that would be vaccinated. The problem is that many Filipinos refuse or delay getting the jab.

“So itong mga bakuna mag-expire either ibigay natin ito sa mga countries na wala pa or siguraduhin natin na ano na lang — we’ll embark on a program last minute na mag-house-to-house na lang sa mga barangay. At ‘yung hindi pa nabakunahan — marami pa ‘yan — kailangan lumabas na at magpabakuna sila,” he said during his Talk to the People briefing.

“So there is enough — they say there’s an excess. There is no excess actually. Binili natin ‘yan sa numbers. Ngayon kung ‘yung mga tao ay nagtatago o ayaw, mas mabuti na lang ‘yan kay gusto nilang magpabakuna o kailangan mabakunahan tapos wala.”

“Eh mayroon nandiyan na ‘yan and we will try to maximize the use o utilization of the vaccines especially that ‘yung expiry date nila malapit lang.”

The government can’t expect 100-percent vaccination coverage, he said, adding at least the vaccines are here and ready to be utilized.

President Duterte said the government can carry out last-minute program, going house-to house to deliver vaccines especially in the countryside. He also warned communist insurgents not to hamper government initiative to reach more unvaccinated people.

“Kayong mga NPA, huwag ninyong barahin ‘yung mga tao na aakyat diyan especially the health workers. Sa totoo lang on grounds of humanity, eh kung gusto ninyo magpabakuna, ipasali ko kayo pero huwag ninyong — do not derail the program,” he said in issuing the warning.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said about 27 million COVID-19 vaccines will expire in July.

“Iyon pong sinasabi nilang 25 [million] to 27 million na mage-expire by July, ang tawag po natin diyan ‘yung theoretical expiration. Hindi pa po ito expired kasi July pa ‘yan, magagamit pa rin po natin ‘yan,” Duque explained.

The country’s COVID-19 vaccine wasting rate is at 1.54 percent, he noted, adding it is far below the World Health Organization’s 10-percent suggested wastage rate.

To widen vaccine coverage, the National Vaccine Operations Center has tapped pharmacies and clinics and tied up with the transportation sector, according to Duque.

Local government units also conducted house-to-house vaccination to reach senior citizens and people with disability, he added. PND