PH secures 40M free Covid-19 shots from COVAX

The country has secured around 30 to 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for free from the COVAX facility, National Policy against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., said on Thursday.

“Ikinagagalak ko po na ibalita na ang atin pong COVAX facility para sa Pilipinas ay naaprubahan na po sa loob po ng posibilidad na makakasigurong mayroon po tayong 30 to 40 million na doses for free para po sa lahat ng ating kababayan (I am pleased to announce that the vaccines for the Philippines under COVAX facility have been approved and there’s a possibility that we can secure around 30 to 40 million doses of vaccine which will be given for free to all our countrymen),” Galvez said in a Laging Handa briefing.

Under the COVAX facility, Galvez said the government has joined the global sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable access for Covid-19 vaccines.

“It is a global interest that we can contain the virus through the concept of equitable access to vaccines facilitated by the World Health Organization for the poor countries like us,” he added.

Galvez noted that the task force is now preparing cold chain storage facilities for the arrival of the vaccines next month.

“We are presently negotiating with 18 logistic companies [and] four companies with ultra-cold storage capacity as part of the government’s preparation for the arrival of the vaccines,” he said.

He added the government assures the Covid-19 vaccines will reach every Filipino.

“This is to ensure (na) ang bakuha ay makarating sa ating mga kababayan, walang masasayang, walang matatapon at ang efficacy ay mapreserve at ma-maintain sa kanyang (to make sure that Covid-19 vaccines will reach us without anything going to waste and the efficacy will be preserved and maintained in their) original state,” he said.

The COVAX facility is a global initiative that brings together governments and vaccine manufacturers to ensure that Covid-19 vaccines will be distributed equitably.

Galvez said the visits by the NTF and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, and the Department of Health (DOH) to various cold chain facilities and pharmaceutical companies are in preparation for the vaccine deployment and the upcoming rollout of the national immunization program.

“Our conclusion is that we have an adequate cold-storage capacity for all types of Covid vaccines ranging from that to be stored 2°C to 8°C negative 20°C as well as those delicate vaccines require negative 70°C to negative 80°C temperature,” he said.

He said the pharmaceutical company, Unilab, has a storage capacity for five million doses of vaccines requiring 2°C to 8°C temperature.

Meanwhile, Zuellig, another pharmaceutical firm, can store around 40 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines requiring -50°C to -25°C temperature.

Galvez added that Zuellig also owns an ultracold freezer that can store 6.5 million doses of vaccines requiring 80°C.

It can also store around 642 million doses of vaccines that require 2°C to 8°C temperature.

There are also cold chain storage facilities in Cebu City and Davao City.

He added that RITM’s cold chain facility can accommodate around 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines that require temperature at 70°C to 80°C.

Meanwhile, Galvez said various local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila have done simulation exercises for the Covid-19 vaccination program.

“All the LGUs are now well-prepared and very excited for the vaccine deployment,” he said.

Galvez assured anew the public that the government’s efforts for vaccine acquisition underwent stringent regulatory procedures.

Source: Philippines News agency

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