THE Public Attorney's Office (PAO) on Monday called out the Department of Health (DoH) for reportedly allowing expired Covid-19 vaccines to be used in its vaccination program.
"The Department of Health is injecting experimental vaccines past their expiration date," PAO Forensics Division director Dr. Erwin Erfe, who is also a lawyer, said in an exclusive interview.
Erfe, the same PAO official who revealed to The Manila Times the existence of a report from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that listed 2,573 Covid-19 vaccine-related deaths, showed a one-page "DoH Public Advisory" regarding the extended shelf life of Covid-19 vaccines.
The advisory, dated Aug. 23, 2022, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, indicated that the department continues to do stability studies on extending the vaccines' shelf life.
The DoH said the advisory was issued to counter skepticism "about the vaccines that are now given to the public because of the extended shelf life that has not been changed on the label of each vial of the vaccine."
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"The government ensures that every vaccine that is injected with an extended shelf life has gone through thorough studies and is still safe and effective against Covid-19," the advisory said.
But Erfe and PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta strongly doubted the DoH's claims, saying conducting such studies takes quite a while.
"The public has the right to know as it could be dangerous to their health. No result has been released yet to the public," the two top PAO officials told The Times.
"If they really conducted stability studies before extending the shelf life of the Covid-19 vaccines, then how and what was the result of the stability studies and how much did the government pay for these?" they said.
Erfe wanted to know if the DoH obtained enough samples from millions of Covid-19 doses before it came up with a conclusion that all the expired vaccines are still effective and do not pose a risk to public health.
"Can the DoH really ensure the public that each and every dose of expired vaccine they inject is safe and effective and not hazardous to health?" he said.
He also asked if the DoH as a government agency can legally administer expired vaccines under EUA (emergency use authorization) rules.
During the continuation of the hearing of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 222 two weeks ago regarding the petition of some parents questioning the mass vaccination of minors ages 5 to 11, Erfe presented to Judge Maria Cherell de Castro-Sansaet the FDA's three-page report that showed the number of Covid-19 vaccine-related deaths.
According to the report, which covered the period from March 10, 2021, to July 25, 2022, 12 of the 2,573 who died were children 5 to 11 years old.
In the same report, the FDA said the deaths cannot be solely attributable to the vaccine.
"Underlying condition or pre-existing medical conditions causing fatal events are usually coincidental on the use of the vaccine," the FDA said.
Erfe had told the court the FDA report tends to justify the plea of the petitioners to stop the vaccination of 5 to 11 years old which they said was unconstitutional.
Erfe and Rueda-Acosta have insisted that there must be a clearance from pediatricians before an individual, especially one with comorbidities, is given a Covid-19 shot.
Erfe said vaccine-related deaths could have been avoided if the DoH had followed such a protocol.
A person with comorbidities should have been exempted from vaccination because of pre-existing illness, he said.
Erfe reiterated that the DoH continues to hide the truth from the public, particularly the serious adverse effects of Covid-19 vaccines.