Malacañang announced today, December 3, that the Departments of Health and Interior and Local Government will conduct an investigation into the nearly 15,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that the provincial government of Negros Occidental did not use because they were nearing the November 30 expiration date.
Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles confirmed during a media briefing that an investigation will be initiated to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident. According to Provincial Administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz, the decision not to use these vaccines is based on the premise that using expired vaccines may not provide adequate protection to recipients and may provide a false sense of security.
Dr. Claudelia Josefa S. Pabillo, Negros Occidental designated cold chain coordinator, in her letter to Dr. Adriano Suba-an, Department of Health 6 regional director, said that Capitol received 4,530 vials (10 doses per vial) or 45,300 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines on November 8, and 3,172 vials (8 doses per vial) or 15,376 doses on October 25, all with expiration dates on November 30.
But the Communication Management Unit of DOH 6 in an email to Negros News Online clarified that they only received a total of 24,000 doses of AstraZeneca with the November 30 expiration date. All were fully distributed in all provinces and highly urbanized cities in the region, the statement added.
As of this writing, Alma Estember of the Health and Promotion Office of DOH 6 said they are still awaiting for the incident report of concerned local government units on the inventory of expired (AstraZeneca) vaccines under their care.
DOH 6 re-assures the public that the region has enough vaccines to administer for the second dose and booster jabs inspite of the expired vaccines in its inventory.
Estember also said that the region did not receive any Pfizer vaccines that also expired last November 30.