Press Release
October 21, 2021

Tolentino asks DENR: Prepare for disposal of syringes, needles, and vials used in COVID-19 vaccination

Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to develop a playbook on how to dispose of the millions of vials, syringes, and needles used for COVID-19 vaccination.

During the DENR's budget hearing on Thursday, Tolentino asked the DENR how the agency is treating and disposing of syringes and needles used by frontliners in the government's COVID-19 vaccination program.

Tolentino raised the matter to address concerns about the threats posed by the used needles and syringes to the health of the Filipino people.

"Lumalabas po na tatlong uri lang ito, una yung karayom, pangalawa yung heringilya, pangatlo po 'yung maliit na bote na pinanggalingan ng bakuna, hindi po siguro ito magkakalahok kasi yung needle ay contaminated, lalong-lalo na 'pag may saturated blood nung pasyente na tinurukan," said Tolentino.

The senator underscored that he has yet to see any treatment facility that manages the proper disposal of used COVID-19 vaccine paraphernalia, considering that the used items are regarded as biomedical waste.

Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the syringes and needles coming from the hospitals are being segregated and treated on-site using chemicals before they bring it to the treatments, storage, and disposal (TSD) facility.

At this juncture, Sen. Cynthia Villar butted in and belied the claims of Usec. Antiporda; Villar reminded Antiporda that covid-19 vaccinations occur in Barangays, which serve as vaccination sites and not in hospitals.

This early, Tolentino said the DENR should come up with a clear-cut plan on how to dispose of the vials, syringes, and needles to be used to vaccinate 70 million Filipinos, the number needed to achieve herd immunity.

"And if we will add another booster, which was approved by the US-FDA yesterday, that would total to 210-million needles, syringes, and small bottles, saan po itatambak yung 210-million needles, syringes, and small bottles? Dapat before the plenary we can have a playbook for this, a timetable and timeframe how to dispose all of these 210-million vials, syringes, and needles." The lawmaker added.

Senator Villar backed Tolentino's proposal, saying she would request the DENR to look into its role in regulating and helping dispose of medical waste caused by the pandemic.

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