Drilon slams DOH and IATF over 27 million unused vaccine doses

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Senate Majority Leader Franklin Drilon (File photo from Senate PRIB video)

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Sunday criticized the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) for authorizing 27 million doses of COVIDD-19 vaccines to remain unused as they neared expiration.

“More than two years into the pandemic, the IATF still manages to mismanage the government’s response to the pandemic. It is unacceptable that vaccines purchased with loans can end up in the trash,” Drilon said.

“It’s criminal negligence if they let this happen. I would like to remind the DOH and the IATF that it is Juan dela Cruz who will pay for these vaccines,” he added.

He reiterated that the purchase of millions of COVID-19 vaccines increased the country’s debt from 9 trillion pesos before the pandemic to 12 trillion pesos in February 2022.

Drilon said that at P500 per dose, the government would waste P13.5 billion if the 27 million doses were not delivered within the next three months.

The money, he said, could have been used instead to increase aid to drivers and operators of public utility vehicles hit by rising fuel prices.

“I hope we are not resting on our laurels. The coronavirus is still with us. We need to step up our vaccination efforts. We have 27 million doses of vaccines nearing their expiry date. The DOH and IATF should distribute in the most efficient way,” Drilon emphasized.

“Let’s not pass the expired vaccine to the next administration,” he said in Filipino.

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