Half of AstraZeneca vaccines in Central Visayas still unused

Wenilyn Sabalo
·3 min read

BARELY two days before the scheduled redistribution of unused AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccines to other areas that need them, not even half of the 30,000 doses of AZ vaccines that arrived in the region have been used as of 2 p.m. on March 22, 2021.

Department of Health Central Visayas (DOH 7) spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said on Tuesday, March 23, that only 12,728 vaccines were administered in the region as first doses so far.

Hospitals in the country have only until Wednesday, March 24, to use up all their allocated AZ Covid-19 vaccines before the DOH recalls and redistributes these to other regions and areas needing them.

The inoculation for the AZ vaccine started last March 16.

“We gave instructions to our hospitals (in the region) to finish today (March 23) possibly,” she said in a text message to SunStar Cebu.

“If ever there will be an extension tomorrow, then we will give the necessary information as well,” she added in a mix of Cebuano and English.

The first batch of distributed AstraZeneca vaccines will expire on May 31.

Loreche explained that the DOH set a timeline for the vaccination activities so that the process will not lag considering the urgency of the matter.

She said the DOH wants to complete the vaccination of all medical frontliners so that health authorities can now proceed to the next priority subgroups once the vaccines become available.

Loreche then appealed to healthcare workers scheduled to receive the AZ vaccine to show up on their schedules and have themselves vaccinated.

The second dose of the AZ vaccine should be given within a prescribed period of six to 12 weeks after the first dose.

Sinovac and AZ

Overall, the Covid-19 Vaccine Utilization Rate of Central Visayas was pegged at 46.5 percent as of Monday, March 22, the 17th day since vaccination began in the region.

The first batch of Sinovac vaccines, the first vaccine against Covid-19 to arrive in the region, arrived on March 2. They will expire on Jan. 13, 2024.

Based on the region’s vaccination monitoring as of Monday, of the 61,025 total Sinovac and AZ vaccines allocated for the four provinces of the region, only 28,371 doses have been administered to healthcare workers so far.

Loreche said the bulk of the allocation or 43,859 doses were for Cebu, distributed to 65 vaccination sites, followed by Bohol (9,160 doses), Negros Oriental (7,286 doses), and Siquijor (720 doses).

Of the vaccine doses administered in the region, there were 20,668 in Cebu; 4,255 in Bohol; 2,828 in Negros Oriental; and 620 in Siquijor.

According to DOH records, the number of vaccinees peaked from March 9 to 12 and March 16 to 19.

Side effects

Loreche said of the total number of individuals vaccinated, only about 3.5 percent or 981 reported adverse events following immunization (AEFI).

Based on the Vigiflow, one of the reporting formats the hospitals are supposed to use in their vaccination report, 282 AEFIs were reported for Sinovac while 424 AEFIs were reported for AZ.

Loreche said for Sinovac, the most number of adverse events experienced was pain in the vaccination site followed by rashes, headache, fever and itchiness.

For AZ, majority of those who reported AEFIs experienced fever. Some also reported headache, muscle pain, and elevation of the blood pressure.

Loreche said the adverse events were mostly mild in nature and there has yet been no reported severe case of AEFI.

A total of 29 hospitals in Central Visayas finished administering the first dose of the Sinovac vaccine allocated for their healthcare workers, while 10 hospitals still have ongoing AZ vaccinations.