348 doses of Sinovac vaccine unwittingly kept in freezer without electricity in Cotabato
COTABATO CITY –– Health authorities in Cotabato province have sent 348 doses of the anti-COVID-19 Sinovac vaccines back to the Department of Health (DOH) regional office here to check if these were still safe for use.
Dr. Eva Rabaya, Cotabato provincial health chief, said the vaccines had been kept in a freezer without electricity for more than two days in Makilala, Cotabato after a two-hour brownout in the town last Friday.
Rabaya said they forwarded the vaccines to the DOH regional office to find out if the vaccines had not been spoiled.
Makilala municipal health officer Dr. Gina Sorilla, who was summoned by the municipal council to explain the incident, said the vaccines were supposed to be used for senior citizens on May 10.
Lito Cañedo, Makilala IATF spokesperson, said the vaccines were kept at the municipal health office’s freezer to be used for vulnerable sectors on Monday when a brownout occurred at 12:30 p.m. on Friday.
“Because of the brownout, health workers and the police in charge of securing the vaccines decided to transfer the vials to the freezer at the Makilala police office, where there was a generator,” Cañedo said.
Power from the Cotabato Electric Cooperative was restored at 2 p.m. Friday, prompting the Makilala police to shut down its generator. But no one remembered plugging the freezer back to the regular power supply.
Cañedo said municipal office workers, including health personnel, left at 3 p.m. as part of health protocols.
“Nobody noticed on Friday that the freezer was not switched back on to regular power supply,” he said. “Saturday and Sunday were no-work days. It was only in the morning of Monday, May 10, that health personnel discovered [the freezer situation],” Cañedo said.
“I doubt if (the vaccines) were not spoiled,” he said in the vernacular, adding that investigation was still going on.
DOH officials in the region have yet to issue a statement.
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