Press Release
August 15, 2022

Hontiveros: Vaccine wastage doubled to P10B in August

Senator Risa Hontiveros, during the Senate Committee on Health hearing on vaccine wastage, said that the 4.7% vaccine wastage rate in June jumped to 8.42% in August.

The senator said that there are around 20.7 M vaccines wasted as of August, amounting to P10.33B at Php500 per vaccine.

"At this rate, by October, lampas na tayo sa threshold ng WHO. We might have accumulated vaccines faster than we could administer them. Nakakapanghinayang na parang patapon ang paggasta ng bilyong piso para dito," the senator said.

Earlier, Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the vaccine wastage is less than the 10% standard of the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Our vaccine program is leaking billions of pesos, both of which we sorely need for reopening our economy. Figuring out what is driving the vaccine wastage should be top priority," she added.

"Sa ngayon, lumalabas na mas mababa ang mga threshold sa acceptable wastage level ng WHO. But billions are still billions. Kaya dapat transparent at detalyado ang reports ng mga naideliver na supply," she said.

Hontiveros said that the DOH needs to reveal their plans to speed up administration given the wastage. She highlighted that the end of May 2022 vaccination target of the DOH was originally 90 million, but as of August only 72 million are fully vaccinated.

"The current supply should already be enough to meet the 90 million goal without wastage. If we waste a significant amount more of vaccines, we will have to spend billions more again," she said.

"Hopefully the Committee on Health will continue to hear this matter, especially since our public health officials are asking Congress to amend and update certain provisions of RA 11525, our National Vaccination Program. The budget continues to leak as we speak," the senator added.

Hontiveros pressed the DOH to create mechanisms for transparency. "Ilan sa mga nasayang na ito ang nasa kamay ng DOH, LGU at private sectors? What are the drivers of vaccine wastage? Most importantly, who is responsible? I want clearer distinctions among authority, responsibility, and accountability of public and private sectors from acquisition to administration," she said.

"Government is in need of funds to battle the different crises our country is facing, not a single peso of taxpayers' money should be wasted. Before we even consider tax administration reforms, the government should safeguard and efficiently utilize the budget appropriated to them at all times," Hontiveros concluded.

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