MANILA

Logistics system for vaccine rollout in place before end-January

INDONESIA. Workers unload Covid-19 vaccine to be stored at a warehouse in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Indonesia’s Food and Drug Authority has green-lighted emergency use of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by China-based Sinovac Biotech Ltd., with vaccinations of high-risk groups expected to start later this week. (AP)

VACCINE czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has assured that a logistics system for the rollout of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) would be in place by January 30, 2021 in preparation for the arrival of the first shipment in February.

The government is expecting delivery of 50,000 doses of CoronaVac, the vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech of China, on February 20, 2021.

Galvez also told President Rodrigo Duterte in a meeting Wednesday night, January 13, that a shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may also arrive in February through the Covax initialive of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The national vaccination plan against Covid-19 will be implemented as soon as the vaccines arrive.

“Nakalatag na po ang ating supply chain agreements at (iba pang) preparations. Magkakaroon po tayo ng pagsisiyasat sa mga different regions para makita natin ang preparasyon. Makakaasa po kayo na by January 30, well-prepared na po tayo,” he said.

(Inspections will be conducted in the different regions to ensure readiness. Supply chain agreements have been signed. By January 30, we should be well-prepared.)

Among the cold chain facilities that will be inspected are those of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). University of the Philippines, San Lazaro Hospital, Zuellig and Unilab.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) on Thursday, January 14, need to be stored at a temperature of -80 to -60 degrees Celsius prior to dilution.

Galvez said other preparations being made are the training of vaccinators and mobilization of the police and military.

He reiterated that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be available only in Metro Manila, Cebu City and Davao City, where cold storage facilities are available.

The Sinovac vaccine may be deployed in far-flung areas, Galvez said.

The AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines, which are expected to arrive in the second half of 2021, may also be rolled out across the country.

The government has signed an advance purchase agreement for 30 million doses of the Novavax vaccines from Serum Institute of India.

Advance purchases for roughly 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have also been made by the private sector and 39 local government units as of January 14.

Vials of these vaccines may be stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

Each vaccine is administered in two doses. Only one brand should be used for both doses. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)


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