The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday, October 18, reported a total of 12,970 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been wasted, mainly due to temperature "excursions" and transport problems.
"Most of the reasons would be temperature excursions. Nagkaroon ng sunog sa Cotabato at saka sa Ilocos Norte kung saan ang ating mga bakuna ay nadamay sa pagkasunog," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters. (Vaccine doses were affected when fires hit offices in Cotabato and Ilocos Norte.)
Vergeire added some of the wastage was due to vaccine transport boxes being soaked in water while being transported.
"Nagkaroon ng ano sa bangka na sinasakyan nila, may issue tayo doon na nalubog ang mga vaccine transport boxes natin doon," she said. (They encountered issues in the boat where the vaccine transport boxes were aboard.)
Aside from these, Vergeire said other reasons include some COVID-19 vaccines not having labels or some having particulate matter in them.
"Doon sa ilalim ng bakuna may nag se-settle na particulate matters. Kapag ka ganoon ang histura ng bakuna hindi na natin ginagamit 'yan," she explained.
(There was particulate matter at the bottom of the vaccine vial. If we find vaccine vials that have such, we don't use them anymore.)
The incident of vaccine wastage comes as the Philippines is lagging behind other countries in terms of vaccination coverage.
In a Nikkei Asia report released early October, the financial magazine said that the Philippines still has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world as only 30% of its population of 110 million have been fully vaccinated as of September 30, noting it was "low even among ASEAN countries."
The Philippines began vaccinating the general adult population on October 7. Keep updated with the Philippines' vaccination in the trackers below.