HCMC – HCMC now has over 339,370 Covid-19 vaccine doses in stock, but only 81,800 of them are yet to expire, data from the city’s Department of Health showed.
The figures were revealed on March 3, as National Assembly deputies looked into the city’s management of Covid-19 vaccines and vaccinations.
Explaining the reasons for the large volume of vaccines that expired, an official of the Health Department said the city had launched vaccination campaigns after receiving the vaccines.
However, sometimes the Ministry of Health allocated more vaccines than needed, and they had to be used shortly after thawing, leading to a huge number of vaccines expiring, he added.
The city received nearly 22.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses between March 8, 2021, and February 26, this year. It administered over 22.1 million doses during the period.
In order to address the current mismatch between supply and demand of COVID-19 vaccines, there should be a focus on three principles: decelerating vaccine production; increasing distribution across communities; and optimizing cost-effectiveness of distribution logistics.
Slowing down and switching from large-scale production to effectively ‘made to order’ is a feasible option, which should be commensurate with management capacity.
Use of soon-to-expire stockpiles should be prioritized not only to enhance booster dose rollouts in adults but to expand immunization campaigns to children (especially those aged 5-11 years), subject to national approval.
Future research should ideally aim to develop vaccines that only require basic, affordable storage and maintenance procedures as opposed to sophisticated and expensive protocols.
Andrew W. Taylor-Robinson
(Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, College of Health Sciences, VinUniversity, Hanoi).