covid 19 / Philippines

PH ready for Covid-19 vax with subzero storage requirement

By Lade Jean Kabagani  

COLD STORAGE. Officials of the Department of Health and National Policy Against Covid-19 inspect the cold storage facility for Covid-19 vaccines of Zuellig Pharma Corporation in Parañaque City on Jan. 20, 2021). Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Tuesday (May 4) said the government is exerting all efforts to prevent vaccine spoilage and wastage even with the arrival of coronavirus vaccines that require ultra-cold storage facility. (PNA photo by Joey Razon)

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – The government is exerting all efforts to prevent vaccine spoilage and wastage even with the arrival of coronavirus vaccines that require ultra-cold storage facility, National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday.

In a Palace press briefing, Galvez said Pfizer, Moderna, and Sputnik V vaccines should be stored at a subzero storage facility and require sensitive handling logistics as these are also prone to spoilage.

“Ang ginawa natin para at least talagang wala tayong (What we are doing now to at least avoid some) wastage, we contracted already a third party. So, kasama sa kontrata sa World Bank iyong kontrata ng for example Moderna, nakalagay doon iyong Zuellig ang magha-handle (we include the third party in the agreement contract with the World Bank, for example, Zuellig Pharma will handle the storage requirement for Moderna),” he said.

Galvez, also the country’s vaccine czar, assured that they are partnering with “high-end pharmaceutical firms” as their party provider so the country would be ready to handle more Covid-19 vaccines that require subzero temperatures.

“Kapag once na nalaman ng Pfizer at saka ng Moderna and also with the Zuellig na kayang-kaya natin i-handle (Once the Pfizer and Moderna and also with the Zuellig will know that we are ready to handle these vaccines), they will bring more,” Galvez said.

Only selected local government units (LGUs) will be given a chance to receive very sensitive vaccines, he said.

“For example, ang ano natin talaga dito sa Pfizer kailangan talaga dito lang sa mga centers na may mga cold storage facility tayo (we can only deploy Pfizer vaccine in areas where we do have ultra-cold storage facility),” he said.

Most LGUs have already gone through training and simulation on vaccine handling and administering.

The government, Galvez said, has been conducting series of inspections and evaluations of storage facilities in various LGUs to see if they are qualified to handle different vaccines.

“And iyong mga nakikita namin iyong mga LGUs na talagang very responsive at they have invested so much and they even bought itong mga ultra-cold chain facility ay iyon po ang binibigyan namin (we only provide to those LGUs that we see as very responsive and they have invested so much and they even bought ultra-cold chain facility),” he said.

Galvez noted that those LGUs that have the capacity to handle sensitive vaccines will be given a large volume of sensitive vaccines.

“And then we also pilot test. For example, ito pinilot test namin iyong (we are running a pilot test in) Parañaque and we are satisfied, bibigyan namin siya ng malaking volume (we will give them a huge volume),” he said.

“At the same time iyong ibang mga (in) other 12 cities ng (of) Metro Manila, bibigyan din natin in trickles kapag nakita natin na kayang-kaya nilang i-handle, puwede natin silang muling buhusan ng mga doses including iyong Cebu, iyong Davao and even iyong sa Region 4-A and Region 3 (we will also give trickles if we see that they can handle these vaccines, we can provide them with more doses including Cebu, Davao, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon),” Galvez further explained.

To prevent the risk of vaccine spoilage, Galvez said they are only deploying sensitive vaccines to those LGUs that have contracted a third-party provider. (PNA)


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