Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. has assured President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday that the country can handle massive COVID-19 vaccine rollout through the cooperation of the public and the private sectors particularly in securing the necessary cold storage facilities and vaccine handling.During a meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday, Galvez told President Duterte that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) has cold storage that can handle vaccines that should be kept between -20 and -70 degrees Celsius.
Government service providers such as Zuellig and other pharmaceutical companies also bought freezers intended for such purpose.
For instance, those providers secured $15,000 mobile freezer that can accommodate more or less 100,000 vaccines, Galvez reported.
“May capability po sila dito sa Manila na they can have millions of vials na kaya po nilang i-preserve. And doon po sa Davao at saka sa Cebu mayroon din po silang capability,” he told the President.
“Kaya po ang medyo limitation natin ‘yung Pfizer at saka Moderna, doon lang po sa lugar na ‘yon po puwede nating i-deploy.”
To handle vaccines requiring ultra-low temperatures such as those manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, Galvez said the government will employ Gantt chart and synchronization matrix to immediately deploy the vaccines once they arrive.
The government will also tap the logistics capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the country’s vaccine czar said.
Many private entities and individuals are also volunteering through Bayanihan to help the government in the massive endeavor, according to Galvez.
Among those who already made commitments include businessman Manuel Pangilinan, the Ayalas, Joey Concepcion, Aboitiz Group, Unilab and others.
Pangilinan and the Ayalas are providing well-experienced supply chain managers and consultants to help the government in its mass immunization program.
“Kaya po natin, kaya po natin, kasi tulong-tulong po ang private sector at saka ang public sector,” he told the President.
On the part of the Department of Health (DOH), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they are currently outlining the documents for the third-party logistics provider who will handle the brokerage, storage, warehousing, hauling, and distribution.
“So end-to-end po, Mr. President, ang gagawin po nilang distribution and deployment system. At kakayanin po natin ito, Mr. President, kahit na ano pong temperature ang kinakailangan. Kasi iba-ibang bakuna, iba-iba pong temperatura ang kinakailangan,” he said.
Currently, the challenge is how to store and handle vaccines that need ultra-low temperature freezers. As a remedy, Duque said they will repurpose 10 ultra-low freezers bought previously by the DOH, which can accommodate 550 liters of vaccine each.
The government expects to receive the first vaccine delivery next month that will be used to inoculate the country’s frontlines.
Succeeding deliveries will arrive in the coming months as the government secures deals from different vaccine manufacturers. PND