7,500 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in Bicol returned to DOH Central Office

7,500 doses of -19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca were returned to the central office of the Department of Health (DOH) from Bicol Region on Monday due to the temperature issue.

On March 10, 22,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Bicol. All of these have already been distributed to hospitals in the region except for the remaining 7,500 doses.

They were returned because their temperature did not match AstraZeneca’s temperature requirement of +2 to +8 degrees Celsius.

“May protocol kasi na kapag way beyond the temperature required, hindi siya pwede gamitin. Nasa 100-200 degrees Celsius ang lumabas. ‘Pag hindi kasi maintained ang kanyang temperature requirement ay maaring mawalan ng potency ang bakuna. So sayang naman kung hindi na effective. Masasayang yung efforts for vaccination,” said Dr. Rita Ang-Bon, -19 Vaccine Program Coordinator of DOH-Bicol.

Upon investigation, it appears that the thermometer installed by their third-party logistics provider is broken.

“Gumamit ng ibang thermometer. After the investigation and lumabas na +2 – +8 naman. Kaya lang, wala tayong information kung na-maintain yung temperature niya nung naibiyahe,” said Bon.

“So lesson din po ito sa ating third party logistics provider na nag-deliver ng vaccines, to make sure na lahat temperature monitoring devices are in good condition para wala tayong nasasayang na bakuna,” she added.

7,500 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in Bicol returned to DOH Central Office

So far, the number of vaccinated in Bicol is 10,998.

The DOH has appealed to local governments to follow the priority list of those to be vaccinated.

There are those who have received information that even non-health workers have been vaccinated.

“Sa lahat ng LGU, since manipis pa ang suplay ng bakuna, priority muna yung health workers kasi kung hindi kayo kasama sa list at nabakunahan kayo, maaagawan ng bakuna yung health workers na dapat makatanggap muna nito,” said Bon.

There are 70,000 health workers in the region targeted to be vaccinated before others on the priority list.

Meanwhile, the additional 400,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines against -19 donated by China to the Philippines arrived at the Ninoy International Airport () on Wednesday morning.

A Philippine Airlines flight containing the vaccines arrived at 7:21 am.