(Contributed photo)

MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence Go on Monday said he is willing to launch an inquiry on the reported wastage of Covid-19 vaccines in the government and private sector.

Go said the public has the right to know what happened.

"Karapatan nating malaman kung bakit sumobra. Bakit nasayang? Kung ano talaga ang totoong nangyari at ‘di na mauulit ito at walang masayang (It is our right to know why there was excess in supplies. Why were they wasted? We should know what really happened so it will not be repeated and there will be no more wastage," Go said in an interview.

Among the reasons cited for the wastage are expiration, short shelf life, damage due to natural disasters and improper temperature, discoloration, and presence of particulate or floating matters.

Go recalled that the government was in a hurry to purchase Covid-19 vaccines at the time when they were scarce.

"Talagang naniguro tayo na walang masho-shortage na bakuna. Ngayon, sumobra dahil ‘yung iba eh ayaw nang magpabakuna (We really made sure that there will be no vaccine shortages. Now, there was an oversupply because others no longer want to be vaccinated)," he said.

Go said if there will be a need for the Committee on Health, which he chairs, to look into the non-disclosure agreement between the previous administration and pharmaceutical companies on the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines, he is open to invite former officials who were involved in the signing.

"Kung kailangan ipatawag yung mga previous secretary na involved po dito sa signing ng (If we need to summon the previous secretaries involved in the signing of the) non-dislcosure agreement, I am for transparency. I'm sure former president [Rodrigo] Duterte is for transparency also," he said.

More importantly, Go wants the vaccination campaign to be strengthened.

Through Senator Pia Cayetano who defended the 2023 budget of the Department of Health (DOH) in the plenary last week, Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reported that around PHP15.6 billion worth of Covid-19 vaccines or 31.3 million doses were either wasted or not used.

"The total wastage is 31.3 million and that is 12 percent of the total, which if we will add is within the allowed percentage of wastage. But of course, this does not mean that just because it is in the allowed percentage, DOH is not striving to improve that number,” Cayetano said. (PNA)