DOH: PH has enough cold storage for COVID-19 vaccines

With assistance from the private sector, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Thursday said that the government has enough cold storage facilities for COVID -19 vaccines that are expected to arrive next month.

Vergeire told News’ Unang Balita that vaccine czar Secretary Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III inspected some of the cold storage centers yesterday.

“Kahapon po ay nag-ikot si Secretary Galvez at saka si Secretary Duque at nakita naman po nila na we have na sapat naman po (na cold storage facility) katulong ang private sector,” Vergeire said.

“We have Zuellig, we have Unilab na tutulong for their storage facilities,” she added.

According to Vergeire, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and its regional offices also have cold storage facilities.
“Meron dinm po kasi ang RITM meron din po ang ating mga facilities sa regional offices because we had been doing this vaccination for so long already so enough naman po ang meron,” she added.

Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the government needs third party logistics providers to increase the  capacity for COVID-19 vaccines starting August.

Also read: San Juan prepares cold storage facilities for AstraZeneca vaccines

DOH: PH has enough cold storage for COVID-19 vaccines

During the House Committee on Health’s hearing on the government’s vaccination road map, Duque said currently available facilities could only store vaccines that would arrive until July.

Duque added the Department of Health is in talks with third-party logistics providers that could manage, store, and distribute the vaccines.

The Philippines would need cold storage facilities with 2 to 8 °C, -16 to -20 °C, and -70 to -80 °C.

Duque said the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and some regional hubs already have storage facilities with 2 to 8 °C and -16 to -20 degrees.

Due to the limited capacity, third-party logistics providers would store COVID-19 vaccines that would arrive for the rest of the year.

Duque said five units of ultra-low temperature freezers in RITM can accommodate over 1.4 million doses of vaccines that require -70 to -80 °C storage temperature.

The DOH is still studying to repurpose five more units of ultra-low freezers.