A Mindanao lawmaker stressed Friday the importance of being able to produce and store vaccines for COVID-19 within the Philippines.
"Vaccines need specialized, temperature-controlled containers for proper transport. Our country must have enough of these cold storage containers and facilities so that the COVID-19 vaccines can be properly and safely shipped," Misamis Oriental Rep. Juliette Uy said in a statement.
The Department of Health (DoH) bared a few weeks ago that clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines would start as early as this December.
"If we do not yet have these vaccines and means of cold storage, the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) should find ways to manufacture the vaccines and cold containers on a massive scale, along with the production of tens of millions of syringes and other supplies needed," said Uy, a vice chairperson of the Committee on Appropriations.
"Some of the COVID-19 vaccines could be produced in the industrial estates like PHIVIDEC under license from the original manufacturers," she noted. PHIVIDEC is located in Misamis Oriental.
Uy said the country would also need areas where enough vaccines and supplies can be stored on standby for future needs.
"We must anticipate vaccination of migrant balikbayans; returning OFWs (overseas Filipino workers); foreign tourists; crews of international airlines, passenger ships, and cargo ships; personnel of foreign embassies, international regional headquarters; and visiting foreign troops," she said.