DOH plans to build more cold storage facilities for possible COVID-19 vaccine

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2020 02:43 PM | Updated as of Oct 24 2020 03:39 PM

A volunteer receives an injection from a medical worker during the country's first human clinical trial for a potential vaccine against the novel coronavirus, at the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, South Africa, June 24, 2020. Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters/File

MANILA— The Department of Health (DOH) is preparing more cold storage facilities in preparation for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines once they are available.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they plan to build cold storage facilities per region or province to ensure proper safekeeping and to preserve the vaccine's effectiveness, saying the current number of storage facilities will also have to cater to other vaccines.

"Nakikipagusap tayo sa iba't ibang grupo so that we can expand our storage facilities in preparation [for] the COVID-19 vaccine," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

(We are talking to different groups so that we could expand our storage facilities in preparation for the COVID-19 vaccine.)

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"Ideally for the cold storage gusto natin na bawat region may hubs o storage facilities... Sana per province para kapag nag-roll out tayo ng implementation ating masisiguro na ang bakuna ay mapapanatili natin ang effectiveness," Vergeire said.

(Ideally we want to have hubs or cold storage facilities in every region. But hopefully we can expand that to provinces to make sure we retain the effectiveness of the vaccine.)

The storage facilities needed would depend on the kind of COVID-19 vaccine that will be rolled out in the market, Vergeire noted.

Vergeire said 3 manufacturers have already applied for "regulatory process," adding that they are continuing talks with manufacturers and bilateral partners to push through with having a COVID-19 vaccine.

The government is targeting to vaccinate 20 percent of the population against the disease, with DOH studying ways to expand that target.

Several companies from around the world are at various stages of trials for COVID-19, which has sickened over 42.2 million and killed 1.14 million people worldwide.