ONLY 32 out of the 134,160 doses of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines received in Central Visayas were wasted, the Department of Health regional office (DOH 7) said.
DOH 7 spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said they will make sure that no more vaccines would go to waste.
“We are looking forward to minimizing wastage. We are very much careful in handling the vaccines,” she said.
She said 24 AstraZeneca doses were spoiled because the vials had been opened but the intended recipients did not turn up at the vaccination area.
Each vial contains 10 doses. Once opened, the vaccine must be used in less than six hours.
Eight Sinovac vials, which are supposed to contain 0.5 milliliters or one dose each, could not be used because these did not contain the correct volume. Loreche said this was a manufacturing problem.
The spoiled vaccines were returned to DOH 7, she added.
As of April 7, Central Visayas has received 104,160 doses of Sinovac vaccines and 30,000 of AstraZeneca.
Loreche said 72,098 individuals have received their first dose. Of this number, 11,387 have been given their second dose.
Nationwide, the number of individuals who have been vaccinated has breached one million.
As of April 11, or 42 days since the vaccination campaign began in the country, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said a total of 1,007,356 individuals have received the first dose.
They comprise 0.93 percent of the Philippines’ 108 million population and 1.43 percent of the government’s 70 million target for 2021.
Of this number, 132,288 have also received the second dose, bringing the total number of doses administered in the country to 1,139,644, or 45 percent of the 2,525,600 million doses delivered earlier.
Loreche said vaccination sites in Central Visayas have yet to administer the second AstraZeneca dose. All available AstraZeneca vaccines in the country were given as first dose to reach more health frontliners.
She said an investigation will be conducted on the reported death of a female medical worker, 37, after allegedly receiving a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Sydney Rose Panimdim, a resident of Barangay Tangke, Talisay City and a worker in a public hospital in Cebu City, fell ill a day after getting her second dose on April 9, a report by Balitang Bisdak of GMA 7 said.
The report, which quoted Tangke Barangay Captain Nelson Cabanes, said Panimdim suffered from asthma. She was rushed to a hospital, but died while in the facility.
She was found to be positive for Covid-19, Cabanes added. Panimdim was buried at 10 a.m. Monday.
A neighbor, Edna Labitad, told Balitang Bisdak that Panimdim did not report for work on Sunday, April 11, because she was already sick.
Loreche said they were retrieving medical records of Panimdim and coordinating with the concerned hospital.
“It is still too early to connect the death to the vaccination. Prior to linking the death to the vaccine that was used, a causality will have to be established without doubt,” she said.
She expressed her sympathies and assured the family that an investigation will be conducted.
Loreche said 1,895 minor adverse events following immunization (AEFI) cases have been reported to the Vigiflow.
Of the 1,895, 1,849 minor AEFI were reported after the first dose, while 46 were reported after the second dose.
Most adverse events experienced by recipients of Sinovac vaccine are pain at the vaccination site, elevated blood pressure and headache, while recipients of AstraZeneca vaccine experienced fever, headache, body malaise, pain at the vaccination site and chills.
Most AEFI cases involved adults 30 to 39 years old.
Of the 1,034 senior citizens aged 60 and above who received Covid-19 vaccines, Loreche said only seven percent experienced adverse events.
She said 65 senior citizens received Sinovac, while 969 received AstraZeneca.
Most senior citizens who received Sinovac experienced pain at the vaccination site and dizziness, while those inoculated with AstraZeneca experienced elevated blood pressure, headache, fever and muscle pain.
Low sign-up rate
Loreche urged the public to keep an open mind amid reports of adverse events.
In Cebu City, the number of senior citizens who signed up for a vaccine against Covid-19 has increased to around 13,000 from 9,000 based on the partial list of the Cebu City Vaccine Advisory Board on April 11.
The number remains low as it comprises only about 15 percent of the estimated 85,000 senior citizens in the city.
Cebu City Health Department (CHD) officer-in-charge Jeffrey Ibones said they will ramp up their information drive to entice more senior citizens to sign up while waiting for the vaccine.
He said the VAB has been coordinating with the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (Osca) for the list of senior citizens in the city.
In the entire Central Visayas, a total of 566,627 senior citizens are on the vaccine master list of DOH 7.
The vaccination of senior citizens did not push through in Mandaue City as scheduled on Monday, April 12.
Although the local Vaccine Board was allowed by DOH 7 to use the excess 140 doses of Sinovac vaccine for senior citizens, some members suggested inoculating medical frontliners who were not registered but are willing to receive the vaccine.
Ernie Manatad, Mandaue City Vaccine Board chairman, told SunStar Cebu that some senior citizens had gone to the vaccination site in Mandaue City Cultural and Sports Complex, but had to go home after the board decided to focus on the medical frontliners first.
Manatad told barangay captains and some officials Monday afternoon that some Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) and Disaster Risk Reduction Management personnel have not been vaccinated.
He said these personnel have expressed willingness to receive the vaccine.
The country’s vaccine supply was boosted with the arrival Sunday of another shipment of 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine, the second batch of government-procured vaccines against Covid-19.
Of the 1,139,644 total doses administered as of April 11, Roque said 965,169 went to health frontliners under Priority Group A1.
Of these, 848,986 were given as first dose while 116,183 were given as second dose. The 848,986 recipients comprise about 48 percent of the country’s 1.76 million health workers.
Health frontliners in the National Capital Region (NCR) comprised the biggest group of vaccine recipients.
As of April 11, Roque said roughly 225,000 health frontliners in the NCR received their first dose. Of this number, about 43,000 have also been given their second dose.
Other recipients of the first dose were 95,000 in Central Luzon, 92,000 in Calabarzon, 72,000 in Central Visayas, 49,000 in Davao Region, 44,000 in Soccsksargen, 39,000 in Ilocos, 37,000 in Northern Mindanao and 35,000 in Western Visayas.
Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, Roque said the Philippines ranks third in terms of doses administered, after Indonesia’s 14.7 million doses and Singapore’s 1.7 million doses.
The Philippines has received a total of 3.035 million doses of vaccines, consisting of 2.5 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine and 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, as of April 11. (JJL / KFD / SunStar Philippines)