Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros wants the Senate to investigate the estimated P5 billion to P13 billion worth of COVID-19 vaccines purchased by the government that was allegedly unused and expired.
In the press conference, the senator said that she would file a resolution to investigate what she called the “large-scale” wastage of COVID-19 vaccines, which he said should not be tolerated.
Based on the reports, Hontiveros said that between April and July, between four million and 24 million vaccines had not been used and expired.
The cost of the said COVID-19 vaccine is said to be in the range of P5 billion to P13 billion.
“Of course, may mga vaccines na alam nating hindi magagamit dahil sa iba’t ibang dahilan. May margin of error naman talaga. But in this case, goodbye agad sa halagang bilyun-bilyong piso? Mukhang magtatapon tayo ng pera at bakuna sa kabila ng mabilis na namang pagtaas ng mga COVID-19 cases,” she said.
The lawmaker regretted the aforementioned billions that were wasted because it could have been used for other things such as support for farmers, fishermen, drivers, and frontliners.
Hontiveros wants probe on P5B to P13B COVID-19 vaccine wastage
“Palaging inaanunsyo na ang dami-dami na nating bakuna, pero hindi naman sa procurement natatapos ang kuwento. Baka naman may oversupply na tayo kaya may hindi nagagamit at nasasayang. ‘Wag naman sanang ipangalandakan na dinaig pa nila si Asyong Aksaya. Dapat may managot dito,” said Hontiveros.
Hontiveros said that those who should be questioned in this matter are the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the Department of Health, and the “czars” during the era of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
Go Negosyo founder and former Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said that 3.6 million doses of Moderna vaccines expired on July 27. While 623,000 AstraZeneca doses will expire on July 31.
The said number of vaccines reached 4.2 million and is worth around P5.1 billion.
Concepcion explained that the failure of the private sector to use the vaccines is the alleged delay of the Health Technology Assessment Council’s (HTAC) decision to approve the provision of second booster vaccination to all Filipinos age 50 and above and adults with comorbidities.