The Department of Health is coordinating with the manufacturer of AstraZeneca vaccines to determine if those that recently expired have an extension on their shelf life and can still be used, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday, December 3.
The Negros Occidental provincial government was not able to utilize 14,620 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines that it received from the national government in November because they were nearing expiration and local government units did not want to accept them, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said on Thursday.
Their expiration date was November 30.
Vergeire said the 14,620 doses are being stored under definite guidelines to ensure their efficacy should the manufacturer state that there is an extension to their shelf life and they can still be used.
According to the LGUs, some of the local governments did not want to accept the expiring vaccines and there were those who had a preference for other brands, Vergeire said.
“We are still further investigating to see how to improve processes in the coming weeks,” she said.
She appealed to the LGUs to consider that “these vaccines are very valuable; these are critical commodities at this time of the pandemic. When we give you vaccines, they are not expired, they are near expiring that could still be used.”
Medicines that have not hit expiration dates can still be effective, she said.
All of the COVID-19 vaccines have the same effect in preventing hospitalization and death, Vergeire also stressed.*