MANILA — The Philippines will hold a dry run next week to ensure that facilities are ready to receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines supposed to arrive next month, a top pandemic response official said Wednesday.
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez said there will be a simulation of the arrival of the vaccine at the airport and inspection of storage and medical facilities.
“Bibisitahin namin ang airport at titingnan namin, i-simulate namin 'yung pagdating ng unang vaccine. From there pupunta tayo sa warehouse, sa cold chain, at i-inspect natin ang readiness ng ating RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) at the same time 'yung San Lazaro (Hospital) at itong PGH (Philippine General Hospital) dahil ito ang lalagyan natin ng mga cold storage,” Galvez said during the Laging Handa briefing on Wednesday.
(We’ll visit the airport and we’ll simulate the arrival of the first vaccine. From there we will go to the warehouse, to the cold chain facility and then we’ll inspect RITM, San Lazaro Hospital and PGH because that’s where we will place the cold storage.)
Galvez said he would also visit cities and other areas that are set to receive the vaccine to ensure their preparedness.
“Ang gagawin namin by end of January we will make sure na prepared na prepared na po tayo,” he said.
(What we’ll do is that by the end of January we’ll be well prepared.)
The first batch of vaccines to arrive in the Philippines is expected to be from Chinese firm Sinovac, which already pledged 25 million doses. Galvez previously said 50,000 of these jabs will arrive by February.
He said Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines might also arrive early with the help of the COVAX facility.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also said hospitals and those who will conduct the vaccination are also being prepared.
“December pa lang nakapagumpisa ng pag-train sa health care workers.” she said.
(We started training health care workers in December.)
Galvez said the vaccines will be transported to far-flung areas from central hubs in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao.