The Philippines has enough cold storage facilities to store and transport COVID-19 vaccines once the jabs arrive, the country's vaccine czar said Thursday.
Some vaccines require storage at sub-zero temperatures like the ones made by Pfizer and BioNTech (-70 degrees Celsius). Others, like AstraZeneca, can be kept at regular refrigerator temperatures. Both are in Manila's order pipeline.
Sec. Carlito Galvez, the vaccine czar, said he inspected earlier this week storage facilities of pharma giants Unilab and Zuellig, and the government-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
"Nakikita ko po, prepared na prepared tayo, cold chain facility napaka very modern saka very safe, capacity talagng adequate," Galvez told an online government forum.
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Health Usec. Rosario Vergeire said that based on the inspection, "We are prepared, we are just finalizing the arrangements."
Earlier this week, the government announced an order of 20 million doses from American firm Moderna.
A supply agreement would soon be signed with Johnson & Johnson while negotiations are ongoing with Pfizer, both from the U.S., Galvez told a House hearing. A Philippine Star report quoting sources said ports billionaire Enrique Razon was leading the private sector effort to secure vaccines from Moderna.
The Philippines has ordered 30 million doses from Novovax, at least 17 million from AstraZeneca and 25 million from Sinovac. Negotiations are also underway with Russia's Gamaleya