Makati begins use of Pfizer COVID-19 jabs

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2021 11:46 AM | Updated as of May 12 2021 04:29 PM

Makati begins use of Pfizer COVID-19 jabs 1
A health worker shows the vial of the Comirnaty COVID19 vaccine of Pfizer BioNTech during its first rollout inside the Makati Medical Center on May 12, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News​

MANILA - Makati residents who came to the Makati Medical Center (MMC) expecting to get the Sinovac COVID-19 jab on Wednesday became the first from the city to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

The initial inoculation of the awaited vaccine brand to an expected 300 to 500 people the first day went smoothly, said the hospital's medical director Dr. Saturnino Javier.

“So far, the challenge is we need to make sure that we maintain the proper temperature requirement of the vaccine,” he said, describing the “stringent requirement” of the jab.

Javier added they only needed to fine-tune certain issues with the vaccine administration process which they had prepared for in time.

Over 5,000 Pfizer doses were allocated to Makati City, which has collaborated with MMC to store the jab in ultra low freezers.

The jab needs to be kept at a temperature of between -70 to -80 degrees Celsius.

The hospital on Tuesday night received 195 vials, each containing 5 to 6 doses. These were immediately placed in a bio-ref to thaw the vaccine before being administered within 3 to 5 days, Javier said.

"My recollection is that within 15 minutes you should be able to do it. So they only aspirate when they are here already. So there may be some degree of waiting for the vaccinees because we want to make sure they receive the vaccine in its optimum condition,” he said.

Makati was among specific areas in the Philippines that were able to administer the first batch of Pfizer vaccines brought into the country from the COVAX facility.

Aside from the local government’s collaboration with the MMC for its cold storage facility, it said it has bought its own freezer to handle more.

In keeping with COVAX requirements, only priority groups encompassing medical frontliners, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities were allowed to receive the jab.

The MMC targets vaccinating up to 600 people each day up to the weekend until its allocation is used up.

"We’re very particular of the wastage because these are limited quantities of vaccines so we want to make sure that we don’t have any vaccine that goes to waste," Javier said.

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