MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said its proposed budget for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines already includes the cost of storing and transporting it.
This after Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said he wanted a P150 billion allocation for the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines next year, noting that distribution costs much higher than the price of the vaccines.
But Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this has already been considered as the country continues to negotiate with various vaccine developers.
“Doon sa evaluation, tinitignan na natin kung paano, tinitignan natin kung magkano ang bakuna, tinitignan natin ano ba ang logistical requirements ng bakuna na ito, and what are the challenges of our health system kapag ito ang binili nating bakuna,” she said in a virtual press briefing.
(During evaluation, we look at how much the vaccine is and we also look at the logistical requirements, and what are the challenges of our health system if we procure this vaccine.)
Vergeire said experts and government officials look into the “tradeoffs” or the feasibility of using a vaccine in the country.
She said this as several COVID-19 vaccines in development, including those showing promising results in clinical trials, would need ultra-cold freezers.
“All of these are considered and all of these are being estimated for now. We already have submitted the required funds that we need for the procurement of the vaccine until its distribution storage and warehousing,” Vergeire said.
The health official added that they also submitted details on the different vaccines and their particular requirements for storage and distribution.
She said the DOH will update the the public once the amount is approved.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is said to be 90% effective in protecting people against COVID-19 while Moderna’s vaccine reportedly provides 95% protection. However, their vaccines need to be kept extremely cold. Unlike older vaccines, both developers are using newer forms of vaccine technology.