THE Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) has yet to iron out supply chain arrangements prior to the distribution of the 29,250 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine delivered to the region on Tuesday morning, May 11, 2021.
Cebu City Health Department (CHD) officer-in-charge Jeffrey Ibones said a meeting has been set for Friday, May 14, to finalize allocations.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, said in a virtual briefing on Wednesday, May 12, that they have not determined the allocations for each local government unit (LGU).
Earlier, she said the vaccine will go to the three highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, which have the capability to store the vaccine at ultra-low temperature.
Secondly, Loreche said they have yet to determine whether all 29,250 doses would be administered as first dose or half would be set aside for the second dose.
The Pfizer vaccine, which was developed based on the messenger RNA technology, is administered in two doses 21 days apart.
Thirdly, Loreche said the master list of recipients and substitution list has to be ready before the vaccine is taken out of the ultra-low cold storage facility.
Unopened vials of the vaccine may be stored for up to 30 days in the Pfizer thermal shipper with a temperature of -80 to -70 degrees Celsius.
From the Pfizer thermal shipper, the unopened vaccine may be transferred to freezers with temperature of -25 to -15 degrees Celsius for up to two weeks.
These may also be transferred to the more common 2 to 8 degrees Celsius storage conditions, but only for five days.
Once thawed, a vial cannot be re-frozen or stored under frozen condition.
Once diluted with 0.9 percent sodium chloride/saline solution, the vaccine has to be administered within five hours. A vial is good for six doses.
“It means we need to have the capacity to store it and we have the ready master list and the substitution list as one vial will be good for six vaccinees,” she said.