The country has no existing ultra high cold chain storage for vaccines against the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), said a vaccine expert of the Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday (Nov. 19).
“Actually, in the Philippines, we have available only for positive eight degrees vaccines and also the negative 20 degrees vaccines,” Luzviminda Garcia of the DOH Disease Prevention and Control Bureau.
“But in terms of the negative 70 and 40 we don’t have,” she admitted.
Vaccine experts warned that if vaccines won’t be potent if these are not stored under the required temperature.
Despite this, Garcia assured that the bureau has already talked to logistics companies concerning their ultra cold chain capacities.
“From a negative 20, according to them, they can convert it to a negative 70 but it will take them two months to convert these equipment,” she disclosed.
Once the vaccines become available, Garcia said those who want to get vaccinated will have to go the hospitals.
“We cannot transport the vaccine if it requires negative 70 to the health centers,” she explained.
“So we will request all our target eligible population to go to the hospital to receive the vaccine because of the problem of transporting it,” Garcia added.
Garcia said that a P3 billion budget will be required to vaccinate a population of 25 million Filipinos and this already includes costs for the purchase of the vaccine, ultra high cold storage, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the disposal.