(File photo)

MANILA – The COVAX Facility has offered to replace with fresh ones expiring coronavirus disease 2019 vaccines, both donated and procured by the government, the Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said negotiations are underway to replace expiring vaccines with COVAX-donated shots.

"[M]ay commitment na rin naman po sa COVAX verbally, kung saan nag-commit naman sila na maaari naman nilang palitan, kahit na hindi iyong mga donation nila, iyong mga prinocure natin, na set to expire ay maaari din daw nilang palitan (There's a verbal commitment from COVAX that they can replace not only those that they have donated but also doses we procured and are set to expire)," she said in a “Laging Handa” briefing.

Vergeire said the DOH had complied with the requests made by COVAX, including the use of a "demand forecasting tool" to show the actual number of vaccines in the stockpiles and the doses Manila would still need in the coming months.

"Hinihintay po natin iyong response nila pero they already were able to set a meeting with us by next week (We're just waiting for their response but they already set a meeting with us by next week)," she said.

The DOH earlier said about 3.6 million coronavirus vaccine doses donated to the Philippines have expired.

COVAX is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The Philippines targets to inoculate at least 77 million individuals by the end of June, representing 85 percent of  90 million eligible for vaccination.

To date, the country has fully vaccinated 68.5 million.

Meanwhile, the DOH continues to ramp up the nationwide inoculation drive, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates.

A national government-led special vaccination days are ongoing in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao until May 20.

During Monday’s election, the DOH was able to vaccinate 7,407 in 333 jab stations near polling precincts. (PNA)