AstraZeneca vaccines returned by Bicol region still usable: DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) said Friday that the 7,500 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine returned by the DOH Bicol Region would not be wasted as they are still potent and usable.

According to Health Undersecretary , experts from DOH, World Health Organization (), and found that the vaccines “are still potent and can still be used.”

Vergeire said Bicol health authorities informed the DOH that one box of AstraZeneca vials they received had a faulty temperature logger.

“They were able to take note of one box that recorded a temperature of almost 400 degrees Celsius and that is unacceptable so they inspected it and referred it to us,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino during a briefing.

“Only one box of AstraZeneca vaccines had this issue. For the rest that were distributed, all of them had the right temperature, all of them passed the quality check,” she added.

A UNICEF composite team would also inspect the vaccines again today to complete its report.

“The initial information and recommendation is to continue using the vaccines because they are still potent,” Vergeire said.

UNICEF also reminded the DOH to ensure that suppliers will only use temperature loggers that passed the WHO standards.

AstraZeneca vaccines returned by Bicol region still usable: DOH

7,500 doses of  manufactured by AstraZeneca were returned to the central office of the  (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 ,” said Dr. Rita Ang-Bon, COVID-19 Vaccine Program Coordinator of DOH-Bicol.

Upon investigation, it appears that the thermometer installed by their third- 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.