MANILA – The provinces are priority in the deployment of the freshly delivered Pfizer vaccine doses as a new storage condition for the jab allows local governments to store it in standard refrigerator temperatures.
Health Undersecretary Carolina Vidal-Taiño, who welcomed the arrival of the US-made jabs Wednesday night, said the vaccine could last up to 30 days when stored with a temperature between two to eight degrees Celsius.
“Hindi lang sa negative 70, puwede na rin siya ngayon sa 2 to 8 temperature requirement. So halos lahat na ng mga regions ngayon at lugar makakatanggap na rin sila ng Pfizer vaccine (It’s not only -70, we can also store it in 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. So most of the regions may now get Pfizer vaccine),” she told reporters during the arrival of 862,290 Pfizer doses at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
The latest shipment is part of the 1,015,560 doses ordered by the government, of which 76,050 have arrived in Cebu and the remaining 77,220 to be delivered to Davao on October 7.
Davao and Cebu have each received 994,500 doses of the US-donated Pfizer shots on October 6, all coursed through the COVAX Facility.
The total Pfizer vaccine doses delivered to the Philippines are now over 17 million — about 3.51 million are government-procured while 10.8 million are donations from COVAX.
“Ang focus na ngayon ay all regions will be given because napakarami na nating dumarating na vaccine so almost all regions, kahit down in the south mayroon na tayong Pfizer vaccine (Our focus now is the rest of the regions because several vaccines have arrived, so even in the south, we’ve downloaded Pfizer),” said Assistant Secretary Wilben Mayor, head of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19’s sub-task group on current operations.
“Ang hiling lang natin sa mga local government natin is to be prepared for the delivery of this kind of sensitive vaccine (We are only asking our local governments to be prepared for the delivery of this kind of sensitive vaccine),” he added.
With more shipments expected in the coming days, Mayor is optimistic the country could hit 100 million in secured vaccine doses before the end of October.
“Sunod-sunod na po ang dating ng vaccines na ito (The vaccine arrivals will be continuous)–Pfizer and Moderna,” he said.
The total cumulative vaccine deliveries as of October 6 are at 80,415,200 doses. Since the start of the vaccination rollout in March, the country has inoculated a total of 28,988,891 individuals, of whom 22,402,105 are fully vaccinated.
The vaccination of children will also start on October 15 and will be piloted in the following Metro Manila hospitals:
– Philippine Children’s Medical Center
– National Children’s Hospital
– Philippine Heart Center
– Pasig City Children’s Hospital
– Fe Del Mundo Medical Center
– Philippine General Hospital
– St. Luke’s Medical Center (Bonifacio Global City)
– Makati Medical Center
NTF Covid-19 medical adviser Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, who was also present at the Pfizer vaccine arrival, said the government targets to inoculate as many as 400,000 children aged 15 to 17 in the initial Metro Manila rollout.
“(Iyong 400,000) sa umpisa lang sa first week then mag-i-expand na the second week kasi dadagdag na ‘yong 12 to 14, pagkatapos by the following week by November 5, ‘yong ibang regions kasama na (That 400,000 is only for Metro Manila, then we will expand in the second week to add those aged 12 to 14 then by November 5, we will include other regions),” he told reporters. (PNA)