PRIVATE and government health facilities in Central Visayas appeared to have missed the deadline for using up the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccines, as less than half of the 29,520 doses on hand have been administered based on Department of Health (DOH 7) records.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, said Wednesday, March 24, that they might extend the deadline, but they were still awaiting advice from the central office.
She said they still have to reconcile their data with those on the ground, implying that some health facilities may have delayed submission of progress reports on the vaccination program.
“I was trying to dig into the discrepancy and how we should be able to address this. One is the reporting. We really encourage our facilities, our vaccination partners, to please submit daily your report on the number of individuals you have vaccinated,” she said.
Health facilities in Central Visayas were given until March 23, a day ahead of the March 24 national deadline, to use up the AZ vaccines.
The DOH central office said it would recall any excess inventory after the March 24 deadline and redistribute these to areas with spikes in new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
As of March 23, Loreche said their records showed that only 13,781 doses or about 46 percent have been used.
These did not include the shots that were administered to barangay health workers (BHWs) in Cebu City on Wednesday.
Razel Cuizon, Cebu City public information officer (PIO), said they prepared 1,600 AZ shots for the three-day vaccination campaign that began Wednesday.
BHWs from the 80 barangays in the city as well as health workers from private clinics received their first dose in two vaccination sites.
Those from the north district were given their shots at the Banilad campus of the University of Cebu while those from the south district were inoculated at the Robinsons Galleria Cebu.
Cuizon urged BHWs to go to their assigned vaccination site in small groups over the next two days to ensure physical distancing and prevent disruption of services in case of adverse events following inoculation.
Loreche said the unused AZ vaccines can be redistributed to other subgroups in Priority Group A, such as the senior citizens and other frontliners in the region outside of the health sector.
Central Visayas was allocated a total of 110,760 doses from the 1.125 million doses of Sinovac and AZ vaccines that have been delivered to the Philippines.
Of the total, 30,000 doses were AZ vaccines while 80,760 doses were from Sinovac.
All 30,000 doses of AZ vaccines are to be administered as first dose while the Sinovac vaccines will be used for the entire regimen of two doses.
Loreche said they will distribute the 480 buffer AZ doses either on Wednesday or Thursday.
Half of the Sinovac shipment has already been set aside for the second dose, which will be given 28 days after the first dose.
The second dose of the AZ vaccine, on the other hand, is to be given on the 12th week following the first dose.
Since the vaccines will expire in about nine weeks on May 31, 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the proposal to use all AZ vaccines on hand as first dose.
Including those inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine, DOH 7 records showed that a total of 37,135 healthcare workers have received their first dose as of March 23.
They constitute about 42 percent of the 89,017 healthcare workers on the vaccine masterlist in the region.
Vaccinations began on March 4. Loreche said the biggest turnout was on March 22 and 23.
Of those administered, 22,559 doses were given in Cebu, 10,895 in Bohol, 3,061 in Negros Oriental, and 620 in Siquijor.
Loreche said Sinovac was distributed to 93 healthcare facilities while AZ was given to 111 facilities.
There were 298 adverse events following immunization (AEFI) for Sinovac and 387 AEFI cases for AZ.
Loreche also said there were 690 deferrals and 44 refusals for Sinovac, and 595 deferrals and 478 refusals for the AZ vaccine.
Vaccination of some individuals are deferred based on the medical assessment at the site.
Those who manifest Covid-19 symptoms on the day of their scheduled vaccination are also asked to reschedule their vaccination until they fully recover from the disease.
Common Covid-19 symptoms include fever, chills, headache, cough, colds, sore throat, fatigue, weakness, loss of smell or taste, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and difficulty in breathing.
Those with history of exposure to a confirmed or suspected Covid-19 case in the two weeks prior to the scheduled vaccination will be asked to complete the mandatory quarantine period first.
Those who were treated for Covid-19 in the past 90 days and those who received convalescent plasma or antibodies will be rescheduled after 90 days.
Pregnant women may be vaccinated after the first trimester. Individuals who were given other vaccines within two weeks of the schedule may receive the Covid-19 shot after another two weeks. (PAC)