MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH)-Ilocos Region inaugurated its first Walk-In Cold Room storage for vaccines in Ilocos Region located at the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital in Barangay Bolingit, San Carlos, Pangasinan on Wednesday (January 18, 2023).

The 30-cubic meter walk-in cold room, with the capacity to store 4,920 liters of vaccines (190,000 vials) at temperatures between 2 to 8°C was donated by UNICEF through COVAX support for the specific needs of COVID-19 vaccines that require storage at lower temperatures.

“This will ensure operationalization and implementation of proper vaccine cold chain management to ensure vaccine potency from the storage facility to vaccination sites. It will also increase our vaccine capacity, especially in the delivery of vaccination activities in the province of Pangasinan as we make routine immunization services more accessible to all children and special populations,” Regional Director Paula Paz M. Sydiongco stated.

Sydiongco added that the regional office will provide technical assistance in the monitoring and effective utilization of the donated equipment.

“We are grateful for the support of UNICEF and COVAX as continue to strengthen our vaccine storage capacity and accelerate the ongoing COVID-19 vax drive.”

To date, the province of Pangasinan immunized 2.2 million of its residents for Covid-19.

UNICEF Immunization Specialist Carla A. Orozco, said that they are providing assistance to ensure that quality vaccines are available and delivered on time.

“This will be used not only for Covid-19 vaccines but for other vials for routine immunization such as polio, measles, and tuberculosis which are life-threatening diseases. In 2021, we are in the top five (5) contributors to the 18 million zero-dose children globally and the top seven (7) contributors with the most children unprotected from measles,”  Orozco said.

“With the nine cold rooms strategically installed in various regions, immunization coverage will greatly improve and vaccine supply will be ensured.”

Meanwhile, Vice Governor Mark G. Lambino expressed his sincere appreciation on behalf of the provincial government of Pangasinan.

“This generous support is an example of a working relationship between government and partner agencies and international organizations which can be utilized even beyond the pandemic as it will continue to serve and boost routine vaccination programs in the province.”

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The Walk-In Cold Room Storage, located at the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital, is now officially open following the ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by (L-R) UNICEF Immunization Specialist Carla A. Orozco, Pangasinan DOH Provincial Health Team Leader Veronica G. De Guzman, and Pangasinan Vice Governor Mark Ronald DG. Lambino. 

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