Concepcion not joining expired vax inquiry

Go Negosyo chairperson Joey Concepcion will not attend any inquiry in the Senate if lawmakers will ask him to investigate what went wrong and why more than P5 billion worth of vaccines have gone to waste.

In an interview with the Daily Tribune’s digital show Straight Talk, Concepcion said the Department of Health (DoH) and its committees should be the ones to shed light on the matter

“We in the business sector only helped in procuring these vaccines, at our own expense. The problem is their burden. We just facilitated,” he said in reaction to the plan of Senator Risa Hontiveros to call for a Senate inquiry, on what she termed eventual wastage of up to P13.5 billion worth of unused and expired Covid-19 vaccines.

Hontiveros cited media reports that around 4 million to 27 million unused and expired doses of Covid-19 vaccines priced at P500 per dose were bound to go to the trash bin.

But based on the latest count of Concepcion’s team, the number of expired Covid vaccines in private sector warehouses is 4,252,830, translating to a loss of a staggering P5.1 billion ($100.1 million).

The final batch of AstraZeneca vaccines also expired last July 31, while the last of the Moderna vaccines expired last 27 July. Of the total expired shots, 3,629,150 are Moderna vaccines.

“No hard feelings. What they should do next time is to clarify the committee’s roles. Enough of the debate and let us move forward. Anyway, the relationship between the private and public sectors is sound. We have many more things to do in terms of mitigation of the pandemic as there are still emerging variants,” he stressed.

The Philippines is bracing for the emergence of a new Covid 19 variant, identified by the DoH on Tuesday as “Centaurus,” officially named by the World Health Organization as BA.2.75, after two individuals in Central Visayas tested positive for Covid-19.

The variant BA.2.75 or “Centaurus,” is said to be more contagious and capable of being vaccine resistant.

“We have to live with the virus, especially since we have a good strategy in the health sector, and the private and the public sector are together and united, we can indeed defeat Covid 19. All we need is to make a ramped-up booster vaccination, that’s why we are launching the Booster Bakuna campaign,” he said.

DoH ready for probe

Meanwhile, the DoH said it is ready to provide answers to queries on unused and expired Covid-19 vaccines amounting to P5 billion to P13 billion.

In a media briefing, Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire was asked for her reaction to the resolution filed by Hontiveros seeking to investigate the alleged “wastage of public funds.”

“The Department of Health is ready to answer any question or investigation regarding our vaccine deployment program, which includes the wastage of vaccines,” Vergeire said.

@tribunephl_raf @tribunephl_jom

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