MANILA - The local government of Baguio on Wednesday said it has ordered its own freezers that would be able to store COVID-19 vaccines requiring any cold chain temperature.
“Nag-order na tayo ng sarili nating freezer. Meron na tayong makukuhang freezer para sa minus 2, minus 8. Ang pinaka-critical, yung minus 20 to minus 40, and minus 40 to minus 80,” said Mayor Benjamin Magalong.
(We ordered our own freezer. We can get a freezer for minus 2, minus 8. The most critical is the minus 20 to minus 40, and minus 40 to minus 80.)
Baguio City has been identified as one of the pilot areas for mass inoculation of vaccines against COVID-19.
“We're making sure that we’re ready to accept the vaccine, any type at certain types of temperature. It’s a cold chain logistics. Hindi mo pwedeng putulin,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday.
The freezers, he said, would be arriving in January.
“We ordered these freezers. Nagpahanap tayo sa China,” he said. He added that they sought help from doctors familiar with the storage of vaccines before ordering.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine requires a minus 70C temperature storage.
Moderna vaccines, on the other hand, can be stored in standard temperature refrigeration.
Magalong said they need to prepare as the government plans to procure vaccines from different companies.
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez said the Philippine government is still negotiating with Pfizer and 6 other drug makers for the procurement of vaccines against COVID-19.
Magalong said he is also asking the private sector’s help to buy vaccines for the city.
“I would say 60 to 70 percent, nauha ko na commitment. It's just a matter of asking the NTF, yun vaccine commitee natin - papayag ba sila if we make arrangement with a company that is going to buy, let us say, 5k o 10k doses vaccines?” he said.
The mayor plans to inoculate health workers first, followed by the vulnerable sectors, and other frontliners.
“We're hoping for the entire first semester. We're hoping we’ll be able to vaccinate 20 to 30 percent of our population,” he said.
The city has recorded a total of 3,667 COVID-19 cases, as of 7pm of Dec. 23, including 338 active infections, 57 deaths, and 3,288 recoveries.
Nationwide, 464,004 cases have been confirmed, including 24,984 active infections, 9,048 fatalities, and 429,972 recoveries.