Enough supply of syringes: DOH, NTF

The Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 said on Sunday they are continuously ensuring enough supplies of syringes — both 0.3ml syringes (microsyringes) that are compatible for the Pfizer vaccine and 0.5ml auto-disable (AD) syringes for all other brands.

The two agencies said two batches of procurement through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have been undertaken, with the first batch of 8 million 0.3ml syringes worth PHP 29.1 million completed in October and paid for by 2020 savings.

The second batch, financed through the Asian Development Bank, consisted of 44 million syringes amounting to about PHPP 152.6 million — 4 million this month and the balance during the first quarter of 2022 due to global supply shortage.

To date, 3,653,000 syringes out of the 4 million have been delivered and the rest expected this week.

The 0.3 syringes of the two batches cost around PHP3.25 per piece or USD6.5 cents (PHP50 = USD1), including the cost for logistics.

“Even with the delays in delivery of microsyringes, we made sure that we can still administer the Pfizer vaccines that we procured by using tuberculin syringes. The government, local government units, and the private sector are working hard to increase our vaccine coverage to protect more Filipinos against Covid-19. Through our bayanihan (cooperation), we achieved 2.82 million jabs in one day,” Secretary Vince Dizon, Presidential Adviser on Covid-19 Response, said in a news release.

The DOH likewise procured 100 million pieces of 0.5ml AD syringes in April for PHP 2.38 per piece, from an initial approved budget of PHP2.50 per piece.

Thus, PHP2.38 per piece or USD4.8 cents was used as basis for the ongoing emergency procurement of another batch of 50 million pieces of 0.5ml AD syringes.

“We are continuously ensuring enough supplies of syringes for our Covid-19 vaccination program, noting that 0.3ml syringes are different from 0.5ml syringes, and as such would have varying prices. We assure the public that the DOH is continuously ensuring a sufficient stockpile of syringes and that processes to obtain these are consistent with the provisions of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act,” lawyer Charade Mercado-Grande, Undersecretary of the Health Regulation Team, said.

Moderna vaccine offer

The NTF also clarified that the government has not refused any Moderna vaccine offer.

The Philippines received 3,000,060 Moderna vaccines from the US through the COVAX Facility on August 3.

“For the record, we have not rejected any Moderna vaccines that were offered to the Philippine government. These vaccines are essential in achieving our goal of providing additional protection to Filipinos against Covid-19. And it is towards saving more lives and defeating the pandemic that the whole of government and the entire nation should work together,” NTF chief and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

Galvez, who turned 59 on Sunday, enjoined participation in the second leg of the National Vaccination Days from December 15 to 17 by volunteering, promoting, or getting vaccinated.

Let us live out the bayanihan (cooperation) spirit upang masigurado nating ligtas ang lahat at maipakita ang lakas ng buong Pilipinas (to ensure we are all safe and to show the strength of the Philippines),” he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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