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Explained: How the Philippines Will Store, Transport, Distribute Vaccines

As explained by the Department of Health.
by Clara Rosales
Jan 26, 2021
Photo/s: Shutterstock

Making a vaccine is a challenge, but distributing the jab globally is just as complicated, especially if countries and provinces aren't equipped to store them. Some local governments are in a race to create cold storage facilities to maintain vaccine quality when it arrives.

Like perishable goods and fragile items, delivering the vaccine demands specific conditions and care. If you're curious about the logistics behind transporting vaccines, here's a quick guide from the Department of Health.


Vaccine Update: PH 'Cold Chain' Can Store, Transport Shots

Here's how a COVID-19 vaccine is transported:

What is a vaccine cold chain?

It is the process of ensuring the quality of a vaccine, from the moment it's manufactured to the time it is administered. The vaccine must be stored and transported at the right temperature recommended by the World Health Organization.

Why does temperature matter?

The COVID-19 vaccine is a biological product with components that can be affected by changes in temperature.

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If exposed to temperatures higher or lower than recommended, its active ingredients may change or be destroyed, rendering the jab less effective.

Once a vaccine is made, it must be brought to clinics, hospitals, and health centers all over world while preserving its original state so the public can benefit from its full efficacy.

So how do you transport a vaccine?

From the national central cold storage, the vaccines will be brought to regional hubs called Centers for Health Development or regional DOH office in select provinces and cities via direct flight.

Once they reach the regional hubs, they will be transported to provinces, cities, and vaccination sites such as Rural Health Units, the Main Health Center, or hospitals.

Which ports are reponsible for the shipment of vaccines?

The DOH is coordinating with authorities and local government units to select which airports and seaports will bring the vaccines to communities.

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Vaccines will be transported via plane for Visayas and Mindanao, along with select provinces in Luzon.

Remaining destinations in Luzon will get the vaccine via refrigerated vans.

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