COVID-19

DOH: Recalled 7,500 AstraZeneca doses from Bicol still ‘usable’

Bonz Magsambol
DOH: Recalled 7,500 AstraZeneca doses from Bicol still ‘usable’

'USABLE.' A healthcare worker prepares to inject an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for a fellow worker at San Juan City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on March 23, 2021.

File photo by Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

The Department of Health says that 'only the thermometer was faulty, and all other equipment and devices used to store and transport the said vaccines were all functional'

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, March 26, that the 7,500 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine that were recalled from Bicol due to faulty temperature “remain in usable condition.”

In a statement sent to media, the DOH said that based on the preliminary report of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), one of the storage boxes containing the 7,500 doses received by the Center for Health Development (CHD)-Bicol logged a temperature of more than 400°C.

“However, upon detailed review of the available evidence, WHO and UNICEF found that only the thermometer was faulty, and all other equipment and devices used to store and transport the said vaccines were all functional, thereby ensuring that all vaccine doses remain usable,” the DOH added.

The DOH also lauded the CHD-Bicol for “following protocol and exhibiting an abundance of caution, which in turn allowed the national government, WHO, and UNICEF to immediately initiate an investigation.”

The DOH said that together with the government task force on coronavirus, they would “double down on ensuring and maintaining the functionality of all devices and equipment used in COVID-19 vaccine logistics and storage management.”

On March 1, the Philippines began rolling out COVID-19 vaccines donated by the WHO through the COVAX Facility (AstraZeneca doses), and by China (Sinovac doses).

But even before the first legal vaccination in the country in March, several government officials and President Rodrigo Duterte’s close-in security had already received vaccines without the required approval of the Food and Drug Administration.

The DOH on Tuesday, March 23, issued a fresh warning against violating the government’s priority list for coronavirus vaccinations, after it received several reports of non-healthcare workers jumping the line to receive the scarce shots. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.