Marikina City eyes expansion of COVID-19 vaccine storage facility

Marje Pelayo   •   January 15, 2021   •   397

MANILA, Philippines — Marikina City may have been hit by a massive flooding in the last quarter of 2020 but the city government assures enough funding for its COVID-19 response.

In fact, the city already has a cold chain storage facility in time for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

The storage, which can store up to 40,000 vials of vaccines, is fully air-conditioned and equipped with state-of-the-art vaccine refrigerators.

The city government also invested on carriers that will transport the vaccines to the vaccination sites.

The vaccines will be placed inside a specially designed package with a thermometer to ensure proper temperature while in transit. Even the syringes are exact in measurement and can only be used once.

“Ito ay may lock kaya auto disable,” Marikina City’s cold chain manager Lourdeliza de Guzman explained.

According to Mayor Marcy Teodoro, they are negotiating with two companies and the tripartite procurement for the vaccine is already in progress.

They expect the vaccines to arrive in February or within the third quarter of the year.

Also, the city government is also preparing other areas where additional vaccine storages can be established.

“Ine-expand pa rin namin ito para at least makapag hold kami ng up to 100,000 vials ng vaccine. Both 2-8 degrees and sub-zero cold storage ang aming objective,” he added.

Teodoro said Marikina City is targeting to inoculate around 270,000 or about 60 percent of its population.

It has also allotted around P80M budget in addition to the vaccines that the national government will provide.

“Iyong prioritization namin primarily one, health care workers, mga social workers, iyong mga non-medical (workers) iyong mga nasa PNP natin, barangay health workers, iyong essential workers natin na katulong natin,” Teodoro said.

“Pagkatapos (mga) senior citizens, PWD, iyong mga mahihirap, iyong mga nakatira doon sa mga settlement area ng Marikina. Tapos yung mga working population namin,” he added.

Teodoro said they are planning for a mobile vaccination which will make rounds in hospitals, resettlement sites or in other areas where vaccination is needed. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Duterte to wait for FDA approval before using Sinopharm vax – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will wait for China-state-owned Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine to secure an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before receiving a dose, his spokesperson said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement after the FDA confirmed that it has received Sinopharm’s application for an EUA that was filed on Monday afternoon.

“Mag-aantay po si president ng EUA dahil nabalita ko nga kahapon, mayroon na pong nag-apply ng EUA for the Sinopharm,” Roque said in a press briefing.

Securing an EUA from the FDA is part of the process for a vaccine to be legally used in the country.

The FDA earlier approved a compassionate use license for 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines for the members of the Presidential Security Group.

The agency, however, clarified that the issuance of such a permit is not tantamount to a stamp of approval.

Duterte earlier expressed a preference for Sinopharm developed COVID-19 vaccines. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Gatchalian volunteers to be inoculated with Sinovac vaccines

Robie de Guzman   •   March 2, 2021

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday said he has volunteered to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shot developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech in a bid to address vaccine hesitancy.

In a statement, Gatchalian said he is willing to be inoculated with Sinovac’s CoronaVac if allowed under the government’s prioritization framework for the nationwide immunization campaign.

“Alam ko may prioritization tayo ngayon. Kung hindi naman lalabag dito, I would volunteer to be vaccinated by Sinovac. This is to show to the public our support to the vaccination program,” Gatchalian said.

The senator said he sent word to vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. over the weekend of his willingness to participate in the national vaccination program.

This is also to disprove the notion that some politicians want to be vaccinated with the brand of their choice and with an efficacy rate higher than CoronaVac, he added.

“What’s more important to me is the seal of approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If it’s approved by the FDA, which went through tedious analysis prior to the grant of authorization for emergency use, I’m okay with it,” he said.

“I’m okay with any brand of anti-COVID-19 vaccine. I’m not brand conscious. I put my trust in the FDA,” he added.

The FDA earlier said that Sinovac’s CoronaVac is not recommended for healthcare workers frequently exposed to COVID-19 patients due to its low efficacy rate of 50.4%, based on trials conducted in Brazil.

The FDA, however, clarified that health workers can still choose to receive the vaccine as it only made a recommendation on which groups it is not suited for.

The Philippine government on Monday rolled out its immunization program after COVID-19 vaccines donated by China arrived in the Philippines on Sunday.

The Department of Health said that more than 700 frontline workers, and government officials received the vaccine on the first day of immunization.

Prior to Monday’s immunization drive, a survey conducted from January 26 to February 1, 2021 by the OCTA Research Group showed that only 19% of Filipinos are willing to have themselves vaccinated while 46% would not want to be inoculated and 35% are still undecided.

Gatchalian, however, expressed optimism that the figures will change in the coming days.

“Maraming hesitant dahil bago itong vaccine. Kaya importante dito ang confidence building na dapat pangunahan ng mga opisyal ng gobyerno, well-known personalities, at kahit mga elected officials kagaya ng ginawa ni Indonesian President Joko Widodo at Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam,” he said.

Health chief Duque won’t be inoculated with Sinovac COVID-19 jab – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will not be receiving the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

“FTD (Francisco T Duque III) will not be vaccinated with SINOVAC as EUA provisions exclude 60 and above,” the DOH said in a message to reporters.

“He also underscores that we will follow the prioritization framework, and will ensure that limited doses will go to the HCWs first,” it added.

Duque, 64, earlier said he is willing to receive Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine but the age bracket recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might become an issue.

The FDA said the Sinovac jabs are only recommended to be administered to people aged 18 to 59 years old as it showed a higher efficacy rate in the said group based on clinical trials conducted in Indonesia and Turkey.

Duque led the rollout of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive for healthcare workers and other frontliners on Monday after the donated 600,000 Sinovac vaccines from China arrived in the country on Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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