The Philippines has lost P22 billion from the 44 million COVID-19 vaccines that went to waste, on the assumption that each vaccine is priced at P500, Department of Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
She told a press briefing the authorities could not give the exact figures because of what she called “the non-disclosure agreements.”
“But what we do… for planning purposes, we assume (that) P500 across the board is the price per jab,” Vergeire said.
Last week, the health agency disclosed the number of wasted COVID-19 vaccines in the country had reached 44 million, majority of which expired due to short shelf life.
Meanwhile, latest data from the Department of Health showed an additional case of BQ.1, bringing its total of the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant to 17.
The local BQ.1 case was found in Western Visayas, the DOH’s latest COVID-19 bio-surveillance report indicated.
The BQ.1, a sublineage of omicron BA.5, is considered a variant of interest by the European Center for Disease Control.
Known to be more contagious and immune-evasive, the BQ.1 is driving up coronavirus infections in the US, UK, and parts of Europe.
The Philippines also detected 115 new cases of omicron subvariants, which include the BQ.1 case.
Of the figure, 64 were BA.2.3.20, 42 were XBB, 2 were BA.5, and 6 tagged as other omicron sublineages.
Health authorities also found two new cases of XBC, a recombinant of delta and omicron.
These are results of the latest sequencing run conducted by University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center from Nov. 28 to Dec. 3, the DOH said.
The additional BA.2.3.20 cases consisted of one returning overseas Filipino and 64 local cases from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 6, 7, and BARMM.
Meanwhile, the two BA.5 cases, including a case classified as BQ.1, were local cases from Region 6.
All 42 XBB cases were local cases from Western Visayas and Calabarzon.
Meanwhile, the two additional XBC cases were local cases coming from Region 6.
From Nov. 28 to Dec. 4, the Philippines recorded 7,731 additional COVID-19 cases, which is 4 percent lower compared to the previous week.
As of Dec. 5, the country has 17,907 active COVID-19 cases.
In related developments, the Philippines logged some 7,731 additional COVID-19 cases in the past week, the DOH said.
From November 28 to December 4, an average of 1,104 daily infections were recorded in the country, which is 4 percent lower compared to the previous week.
Of the new infections during the week, 2 or 0.03 percent were severe and critical, DOH’s latest bulletin said.
As of Sunday, 595 or 9.1 percent of COVID-19 admissions were in severe and critical condition, the DOH said.
At least 534 or 22.1 percent of 2,430 intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients were occupied.
The non-ICU bed utilization rate was at 25.3 percent.
During the past week, the DOH has also verified 134 more COVID-related fatalities, citing late encoding of death information.
As of November 29, around 73.7 million people in the country had been fully vaccinated against the respiratory disease, the DOH said.
Of the figure, around 20.9 million have received their first boosters.
In late November, the DOH reported that it had detected 14 cases of of omicron subvariant BQ.1, which is more contagious and better at evading immunity.
Thirteen of the cases were found in Cordilleras, Ilocos Region, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, and Metro Manila, the DOH also said.
The BQ.1, which is a sublineage of omicron BA.5, is considered a variant of interest (VOI) by the European Center for Disease Control.
A VOI is coronavirus variant with genetic changes that are predicted or known to alter virus characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity and immune escape.
The BQ.1 is driving up COVID-19 infections in the US, UK, and parts of Europe.