MANILA (UPDATE) - Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Saturday said 2 boxes of COVID-19 vaccines that were being transported by a boat that capsized en route Polillo town, Quezon are still good to use.
“Ang kagandahan dito, ang ginawa nila, nilagyan nila ng plastic yung pinaka-box niya. Nakita natin 'yung vaccine, okay pa po, pwede pang i-administer. Wala pong wastage,” said Galvez.
(The good thing about this is that they placed the box in a plastic. The vaccines are still OK, it can still be administered. There was no wastage.)
Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that because of the double plastic coating, the vaccines' potency is unaffected.
"Apparently ang bakuna ay double plastic so hindi sila nagalaw. Atin pong chineck ang potency at maaari siyang gamitin," she said in a public briefing.
(These vaccines have double plastic so they were unaffected. We checked its potency and it still can be used.)
The Philippine Coast Guard on Friday said it responded to a "maritime incident" involving the service boat of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that capsized approximately 100 meters away from the shoreline of Barangay Ungos in Real, Quezon at around 7:55 a.m.
On the boat were 2 personnel of the Department of Health (DOH), 2 police officers of the Municipal Police Station in Polillo, as well as the boat captain and motorman.
“Ako po ay nagpapasalamat na 'yung ating health care workers at 'yung nagdadala ng bakuna ay safe at na-rescue sila ng ating coast guard,” he said.
(I am thankful that the health workers and those transporting the vaccines were rescued by our coast guard.)
GALVEZ PROBING REPORTS OF IMPROPER VACCINE STORAGE IN COTABATO
Meanwhile, Galvez said they are also investigating reports of some 300 doses of vaccines left inside a freezer not connected to a power source in Cotabato.
"Ini-evaluate namin 'yung nangyaring more or less 300 na napabayaan sa freezer. Ang gagawin natin doon magkakaroon tayo ng investigation," he said.
(We are evaluating the incident where more or less 300 vaccines where were neglected in a freezer. We will have an investigation.)
Galvez, likewise said they will reiterate to all city and provincial health officers that that they are responsible for ensuring that vaccines are safe.
"They will be responsible na inspekin every 6 hours or 3 times inspekin nila 'yung storage para at least alam natin safe, refrigerated siya," he said.
(They will be responsible to inspect the storage every 6 hours or 3 times to ensure that [the vaccines are] safe and refrigerated.)
He stressed that vaccines lose efficacy once the required cold chain management is not followed. The Philippines still has limited vaccine supply.