Gov’t urged to tap cold chain group
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has urged the Department of Health (DOH) to coordinate with the country’s biggest cold-chain association to ensure that all Filipinos, even in remote and far-flung areas, would be inoculated with the vaccine of their choice.
Sen. Nancy Binay made the request in a Senate hearing on Friday after learning that the DOH had yet to link up with the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines (CCAP), even when the group had already expressed its willingness to help in the vaccination program.
The CCAP estimated that 50 million doses of vaccines could easily be stored in 1,000 pallets or containers. The group’s 37 member-companies have a total available capacity of 500,000 pallets nationwide.
Binay said that given the limitation of cold-storage facilities in the county, the DOH must get all the help it could for the storage and distribution of the vaccines nationwide.
The government is expected to receive the first vaccine made by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech later this month, while shots produced by Pfizer-BioNTech are set to arrive next month.
Sinovac’s vaccine requires storage in -2 to -8 degrees Celsius while Pfizer’s requires -80 to -70 degrees Celsius.
“Based on [the DOH] statement, those in the NCR (National Capital Region) and [other] cities would be given access to the good vaccines, and those in the provinces would be given vaccines with lower efficacy rate because they don’t have enough infrastructure to handle the better vaccines,” she said.
“There would be inequality in the distribution when there shouldn’t be … We have limitations in storage. But if there would be more [people] involved, then we’ll be able to have more options for the vaccines as well,” she added.
Anthony Dizon, president of CCAP, who was also at the hearing, said their group was only waiting for a “clear direction” from government in terms of how their group could help.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the DOH had already talked to 18 companies involved in cold chain management.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.