Boat carrying COVID vaccines sinks off Quezon province after hitting concrete post

The boat that sunk off Quezon province. Photo: Philippine Coast Guard/FB
The boat that sunk off Quezon province. Photo: Philippine Coast Guard/FB

A fragile-looking boat carrying several COVID-vaccine doses sunk off last week near Real in Quezon province.

The Philippine Coast Guard said in a statement that it came to the rescue of a service boat owned by the Department of Agriculture, located about 100 meters away from the village of Ungos. The boat “accidentally hit” a concrete post, which led it to capsize.

Passengers were composed of two Department of Health (DOH) officers, two cops, the boat captain, and a motorman.

Read: Time’s Running Out: Metro Manila to ramp up vaccination due to looming AstraZeneca expiration

“At around 08:30 a.m., all individuals were rescued and were declared in good physical condition. Upon settling down, the two DOH personnel made proper coordination with their respective unit to check the condition of the COVID-19 vaccines and conduct appropriate measures,” the Coast Guard said.

The Philippine government owns countless choppers and ships, so it’s not a stretch to say that it has the capacity to transport vaccines safely. After all, those drugs are our way out of this pandemic — but no, they decided to transport them on a boat that could easily sink.

But people shouldn’t worry though. According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the vaccines were safe.


“There was an investigation and apparently, the vaccines were placed in double plastic so they remained intact,” she said.

The country has been struggling to procure vaccines, so each dose wasted is a big deal. Last week, it was reported that 348 vials of Sinovac jabs expired because they were left in a fridge which officials conveniently forgot to turn on.

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