Cold storage facilities for Covid-19 vax adequate– DOH

COLD STORAGE. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (middle) and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (left) inspect the cold storage facilities of Unilab Inc. on Wednesday (Jan. 20, 2021) at the Unilab Pharma Campus in Mamplasan, Biñan in Laguna. The storage facility can accommodate five million doses of Covid-19 vaccines. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Jan 21 (Mabuhay) — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday said there is adequate cold storage facilities across the temperature ranges required for storing the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines which are scheduled to arrive in the country next month.

“We came from Unilab, then we went to RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) and then now Zuellig, and we will continue to look at the different government facilities, storage facilities. And so far, what we have seen, suggest very strongly there is adequacy cold storage facilities across the three different temperature ranges from +2 to +8, the -30 and then the -70 to -80 degrees centigrade temperature cold storage facilities,” Duque said during a press briefing at the Zuellig Pharma in Paranaque City.

Duque, together with chief implementer of the National Policy Against Covid-19 and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. and other National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 officials, inspected the cold storage facilities inside Unilab Pharma Campus, the RITM, and the Zuellig Pharma in preparation for the arrival of coronavirus vaccines.

Duque noted that the Zuellig Pharma’s cold storage facility can accommodate 650 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines needing +2 to +8 degrees centigrade storage temperature; 40 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines at -20 degrees centigrade; and 6.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines at -70 to -80 degrees centigrade.

He added Zuellig also has cold storage facilities in Davao City and Cebu City and its warehouses are “strategically located to be able to deliver the vaccines from Metro Manila to Regions 7 and 11 and reach the actual vaccination sites.

The RITM can store over a million doses of Covid-19 vaccines requiring -70 to -80 degrees centigrade storage while Unilab can store five million doses of Covid-19 vaccines requiring +2 to +8 degrees centigrade storage.

This year, the goal of the national government is to be able to import 140 to 150 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from seven manufacturers — Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Novovax, Johnson and Johnson, Gamaleya and Bharat BioTech.

Earlier, the DOH said the vaccines will be delivered in tranches so the NTF is working on a plan for the vaccine delivery schedules.

Meanwhile, Galvez confirmed that China will donate 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines by Feb. 20.

“Now, once that EUA (emergency use authorization) has been approved, they can deliver immediately,” he said.

Galvez added the government is currently negotiating with two other countries but they will not disclose the name of the countries yet. (MNS)

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