MANILA - No COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines were destroyed or affected following the rampage of typhoons Kiko and Jolina last week until Sunday, the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) said Monday.
In a public briefing, NVOC representative Dr. Kezia Rosario said the vaccines were sheltered temporarily in provincial health offices in affected areas for safe keeping.
"As of our information now, wala tayong nasirang bakuna dahil sa bagyo, or affected yung cold chain storage natin dahil sa bagyo. Lahat ng bakuna natin during the time of the bagyo were safe po and na-store sila properly. 'Di po tayo nagkaroon ng excursions sa temperature nito," Rosario said.
(No vaccines were destroyed due to the storms. Even our cold chain storage are safe. The vaccines were stored properly and we did not have any temperature excursions.)
She reiterated COVID-19 vaccines are effective and can be distributed to eligible Filipinos scheduled for immunization.
"Marami na tayong ginawa para we can prepare and we would be able to address yung mga bagyo at ma-ensure nating safe ang bakuna at hindi sila magkaroon ng temperature excursion during bagyo," she said.
Inoculation rollouts were halted, however, in 19 municipalities in the Bicol Region last Sept. 7 due to Jolina, while 49 municipalities also suspended their vaccination in Eastern Visayas.
Three towns in Cagayan Valley also suspended their vaccine operations last week due to Typhoon Kiko's onslaught.
The NVOC has yet to get updates on COVID-19 vaccination in Batanes, which was heavily affected by Kiko over the weekend.
"Sila po ay mage-ensure na bago pa man dumating ang mga bagyo, nakahanda na po ang lahat ng preparations para maprotektahan natin yung cold chain at ma-maintain natin yung temperature ng mga vaccines natin," she said.
(They assured us that even before the typhoon comes, they are already prepared to keep our cold chains safe and maintain the temperature required for the vaccines.)
"Kung kailangan sila i-transport immediately, gagawin po yun. At kung yung mga power outages are short lang naman, dapat yung mga generators natin ay prepared, may enough fuel to sustain," Rosario said.
(If we need to transport them immediately, we will do it. If there are power outages, the generators should be ready, with enough fuel.)
At least three people died, while 19 were injured and four went missing during the onslaught of Jolina, as confirmed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
The council is also validating 14 reported deaths, 4 other injuries and three missing.
Jolina affected 81,048 families or 313,373 individuals in Regions 3, 4-A, 4-B, 5, 6, 8, 12 and Metro Manila.
Kiko, on the other hand, affected 6,315 families or 23,702 individuals in Regions 1, 2, 3 and the Cordillera Administrative Region, the NDRRMC said.
The country is still struggling to get a steady supply of COVID-19 vaccines amid the surge in new infections driven by the more transmissible Delta variant.
To date, nearly 16.8 million individuals in the country have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while almost 22 million have received their first doses.