Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo has urged the government to start preparing cold storage facilities for storing and safekeeping of COVID-19 vaccines in anticipation of their arrival and mass distribution to the Filipino people.
The House Assistant Majority Leader filed House Bill No. 8000 or the proposed “Vaccine-Ready Philippines Act of 2020” urging the government to amply prepare cold storage facilities for the vaccines.
“This pandemic has taught us many things, one of which is the importance of preparation. While this pandemic is something that caught many countries and governments off guard, this is not sufficient excuse not to prepare,” she said in her bill’s explanatory note.
She said the Food and Drug Administration had noted that there is a specific temperature that should be maintained in order for a vaccine not to lose its efficacy.
“Countries around the world, such as India, the second most populous nation, have been preparing to ramp up its cold chain facilities for effective delivery of the vaccines when they become available,” Castelo said.
“It is thus the intent of this bill to provide sufficient and appropriate cold storage equipment for storage and safekeeping of the much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccines prior to their arrival in the country. Considering that the Philippines is also a relatively populous nation, a safe and effective mass distribution of the vaccines require ample planning and preparation.”
HB No. 8000 tasks the Department of Health (DOH) to determine the specifications of the cold storage facility necessary for the anticipated COVID-19 vaccines.
“DOH shall urgently prepare for the provision of cold storage facilities in accordance with the specifications that are suitable for safekeeping of the anticipated COVID-19 vaccines,” the measure provides.
Castelo’s bill provides that the DOH, in coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to effectively implement the provisions of the proposed Act within 30 days from its effectivity.