MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) partnered with Pharmaserv Express, the country’s only medical cold chain company, to distribute the coronavirus vaccines to as far as the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
In a statement, Pharmaserv Express said it was responsible for the delivery and distribution of the first batch of 1.5 million Covid-19 vaccines to critical areas in the country for the inoculation of health care workers.
The 1.5 million vaccines were comprised of a million donated doses from China’s Sinovac and 500,000 from AstraZeneca through the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX facility.
“So far, the JV of Pharmaserv has delivered more than 1.5 million vaccines (all the initial doses) across the country, including in the Visayas and Mindanao regions for the vaccination of thousands of health workers and front liners for the past three months,” a statement from the company said.
Pharmaserv Express has been working with the DOH for several years now to distribute routine vaccines across the country.
With the arrival of one million Covid-19 vaccines purchased by the Philippine government from Chinese-owned company Sinovac last March 29, it has become even more critical for the Health department to find a partner that can efficiently distribute the vaccines to far-flung areas.
But while “it has worked with different agencies of the United Nations (UN), pharma companies and local government units,” Pharmaserv Express said that “the enormous task at hand (of distributing the COVID-19 vaccines) would be the most challenging” because of “the urgency of the current situation.”
“The DOH has picked PharmaServ Express as one of its logistics partners for vaccine distribution due to its vast expertise and experience in handling biothermals such as vaccines and blood products that are grounded on latest technology, operations protocols and workflows, manpower complement, and overall capabilities,” the statement said.
This is in compliance to the “stringent requirements of moving temperature-critical products” such as vaccines.
Right now, the Philippines has access to only two brands of Covid-19 vaccines — Sinovac and AstraZeneca.
Both of these can be stored in a standard refrigerator at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. They are unlike the more efficient Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which need to be stored in a temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius. (PNA)