Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion on Wednesday said Covid-19 vaccines worth P40 billion would expire in July if left unused.

In a “Laging Handa” briefing, Concepcion said vaccine wastage could adversely affect the country’s economy.

“We’re trying not only to save these vaccines from getting wasted but what’s more important is we’re trying to save iyong economy natin [amid] the Ukraine-Russia crisis… [T]umataas iyong mga bilihin natin at iyong gasolina tumataas, siyempre nahihirapan ang mga tao,” he said.

“[K]ung magsasarado tayo ulit sa Alert Level 3 and 4, then masisira iyong negosyo, pati iyong economy ng Pilipinas. May epekto rin iyan dahil paano natin babayaran ang inutang natin na trillion sa mga bangko at ibang bansa? So, we should realize the whole implication niyan,” he added.

Most of the country’s vaccine doses were donations from Covax and other countries.

Concepcion said Filipinos should avail themselves of Covid-19 vaccine doses as soon as possible to avoid a possible vaccine shortage.

So, habang maaga pa, [magpabakuna at magpa-booster]…I am concerned that by the time na siguro gusto na ng mga tao [na] kumuha ng bakuna, baka wala nang bakuna kasi halos expired. Iyong next administration will come in towards June eh they might be hesitant also to buy the vaccines kung mauulit ito,” he said.

Concepcion has been urging the government to require booster shots by June to address waning vaccine demand and efficacy. John Ezekiel J. Hirro