Department of Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said it is not fair to blame the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) for the spoilage of 31 million Covid-19 vaccine doses.
“I think it’s unfair that we accuse, that the HTAC is to be blamed for this kind of issue that we have right now. Pag tinignan natin sa kabuuan, marami ho talagang factors which led to this kind of wastage,” Vergeire told CNN Philippines.
Senator Risa Hontiveros revealed during the budget deliberations of the DOH that 31.3 million doses of vaccines are going to waste.
Former Health Secretary and Iloilo Representative Janet Garin said HTAC should be blamed for the wastage. The HTAC is the group that advises the DOH.
Garin explained that other countries were already administering Covid-19 boosters, but the HTAC hasn’t decided yet on when to provide boosters shots and is still waiting on the clinical trial results.
Vergeire, on the other hand, said HTAC, the Food and Drug Administration, and other experts worked hard to provide evidence that vaccines are safe.
“So I think there was really no one to blame na specific. Unfair din po na ma-blame natin yung ating mga experts. They did their job. Lahat po ginawa natin expediously,” Vergeire said.
“It just so happened that evidence was really not that complete then and our experts cannot be forced to decide kung hindi naman po kumpleto ang ebidensya,” she added.
Among the said 31.3 million doses, Vergeire said 24.4 million doses are already expired while 7 million doses were put to waste because of the operational causes, which include temperature excursions, calamities, and vials that were opened but not completely used.
— Ronald Espartinez