By Xy Aldrae Murillo

The Department of Health (DOH) dismissed allegations that the government uses expired COVID-19 vaccines as booster shots, saying that there is no truth to those allegations.

Photo Courtesy of DOH/ABC News

DOH Officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire was asked in a press briefing about the said allegations, to which she replied: “There is no truth that what we are distributing as booster shots are expired.”

According to DOH, they have not administered COVID-19 booster doses beyond their expiration date since the shelf life of some vaccines has been actually extended by their manufacturers.

"Whatever we are distributing now sa ating mga communities, these are vaccines within expiring dates. Ibig sabihin, mabisa pa ho 'yung bakuna. Safe pa rin siya dahil nakapag-extend tayo ng shelf life. So, wala pong katotohanan na nagbibigay tayo ng expired na bakuna,” Vergeire told the press.

Furthermore, she explained that vaccines undergo a “stability study,” which verifies the product’s long-term quality amid extending their shelf life.

Vergeire pointed out that several vials with an extended shelf life were not properly labeled and still had the intended expiration date on them.

She also added that some producers had stopped producing vaccinations, so the government could not return the vials of vaccine to them.

In response to this, the officer-in-charge instead asked for certificates from those manufacturers, showing the extended vaccine life of the vaccines, and these certificates are publicly shown on vaccination sites.

As of September 4, about 72.6 million Filipinos are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in which around 18.2 million individuals have received their first booster shot and 2.3 million have received their second booster dose.

Edited by Juliana Mondoyo