MANILA - Philippine vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Friday said local government units that fail to properly store "very sensitive" COVID-19 vaccines would no longer receive these brands in the future.
Galvez's comment comes a day after Muntinlupa City said it discarded several COVID-19 vaccines, fearing that the jabs have been compromised following a temperature change in their storage facility.
"Ang nakikita natin na isang sanction doon is one, for example ang nasira ay Pfizer, we will not anymore give them Pfizer," Galvez said in an online press conference.
(One sanction we see is that, for example the damaged vaccines are Pfizer jabs, we will not anymore give them Pfizer.)
"'Yung mga tinatawag natin na vaccines na very sensitive na hindi nila kayang i-handle, talagang imi-minimize namin 'yun sa mga LGU na hindi prepared," he said.
(We will minimize the delivery of the so-called very sensitive vaccines to LGUs which could not handle these.)
Officers in charge of the vaccination program in each area may also be held liable for lapses that lead to the wastage of COVID-19 vaccines, Galvez said.
"Siya yung tumitingin kung tama yung cold chain solution, yung handling, yung administration at yung tinatawag natin na complete inspection ng storage kasi iniinspect yan every 4 to 6 hours daily," he said.
(They are the ones who check if the cold chain solution is correct, the handling, the administration and the complete inspection of the storage because these are checked every 4 to 6 hours daily.)
"Sa ngayon ang bakuna ay ginto so kailangan lahat talaga ng nakakatanggap nito na LGU, they have to preserve the safety and efficacy of the vaccine kasi once na na-compromise ang safety at storage, it will also endanger the health of the public," he said.
(Right now, vaccines are like gold so LGUs that receive these must have to preserve the safety and efficacy of the vaccine because once its safety and storage is compromised, it will also endanger the health of the public.)
Pfizer, one of the preferred vaccine brands in the Philippines, needs to be stored at -80 to -60 degree Celsius while Moderna and Sputnik require -20 C.
The Philippines earlier inked a deal with Pfizer for 40 million COVID-19 jabs, the country's biggest vaccine procurement yet this year.
As of July 14, 2021, the Philippines has received 24.78 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Of this number 14 million have been administered to Filipinos since March.