THE country's coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine wastage stood at 8.42 percent as of August 2022, Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Monday, August 15, 2022.

In a Senate panel on health hearing on Covid-19 pandemic and monkeypox response, Vergeire said the vaccine wastage is still lower than the 10 percent indicative wastage rate set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The figure, however, has almost doubled from the 4.7 percent vaccine wastage in June.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said this includes some 20.7 million doses with an estimated value of P10.33 billion when computed at P500 per dose.

She said that by October, the country might exceed the WHO threshold for vaccine wastage.

“We might have accumulated vaccines faster than we could administer them. Nakakapanghinayang na parang patapon ang paggasta ng bilyong piso para dito,” Hontiveros said.

“Sa ngayon, lumalabas na mas mababa ang mga threshold sa acceptable wastage level ng WHO. But billions are still billions. Kaya dapat transparent at detalyado ang reports ng mga naideliver na supply,” she added.

Vergeire said among the reasons for the vaccine wastage were expiration, spillage, broken vials, power outages and other operations-related issues.

She also cited issues such as natural disasters and accidents like fire.

Earlier, Hontiveros said she is seeking for the conduct of an inquiry into the billions worth of wasted Covid-19 vaccines, which were procured by the National Government.

Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion attributed the wastage to the delay in the approval of administration of second booster doses for adult individuals with comorbidities and those aged 50 and above.

The DOH, however, said there is a low uptake of Covid-19 booster doses.

The agency launched “Pinaslakas,” which aims to immunize 23.8 million or at least 50 percent of the eligible population with the Covid-19 booster shot within the first 100 days of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s administration.

As of August 11, there were more than 72 million fully vaccinated individuals in the country in which 6.8 million were senior citizens.

However, only 16.8 million received their first booster dose, while 1.7 million with their second. (SunStar Philippines)