For COVID-19 vaccines
The government will conduct an inspection starting next week of existing cold storage facilities as it prepares for another tripartite logistics suppliers agreement for an integrated shipment, storage and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said this as he assured that inputs from the private logistics providers will be considered in organizing an end-to-end service for the vaccines’ rollout.
“Next week we will inspect all available cold chain storage. We are coordinating with a consortium so that they will make sure that all vaccines from 2-8-degree celcius to negative 70 will be taken care of,” he said.
This developed as the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines (CCAP), told Manila Bulletin that the industry is still awaiting for the government to accept the industry’s offer to play a role in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine. CCAP is a multi-sectoral group of companies involved in the handling, storage, and distribution of chilled and frozen food, among other products.
Galvez assured that the logistics system for the vaccines will be in coordination with the vaccine suppliers, the cold storage provider and the government.
Galvez explained the government has to establish an integrated logistics system for the vaccines to ensure there is no wastage of the new vaccines, which have different storage temperature requirement.
“We have seen some reports that we have 30 percent wastage in some areas in Europe. With acute shortage of vaccines we cannot afford wastage,” he stressed.
He further said that the cold storage facilities are part of their agreement with vaccine suppliers for an end-to-end service solution. The after sales service is part of this long commitment with the vaccine suppliers and as a requirement under the government’s universal health system.
“We will make sure that the vaccine that will be coming here has an integrated coordination with vaccine maker, the local government units and the private sector so that includes after sales service,” he said.
Meantime, the Go Negosyo which spearheaded the private sector donation drive “A Dose of Hope” said there are ongoing consultations to help Galvez in coming up with an integrated shipment, storage and distribution system for the vaccines.
Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the private sector donors would rather live the logistics aspect to the vaccine supplier Astra-Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and the national government to ensure smooth implementation.
Concepcion has secured 17 million doses from the private sector that are expected to inoculate 8 million Filipinos in June-July this year.
Meantime, Royal Cargo Inc., one of the country’s leading logistics providers, has expanded its cold storage facility at its Paranaque head office so it can accommodate the different temperature requirements of the various COVID-19 vaccines.
Earlier, CCAP President Anthony Dizon said the Philippine government is yet to formally tap the country’s cold chain industry for the handling and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
According to Dizon, the industry, “individually and collectively”, has more than enough capacity to participate in the country’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution program.
Right now, he said the cold chain industry’s total cumulative capacity stood at 500,000 pallet containers, while the initial 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine will consume only less than 200 pallets.
“Our initial estimate is that even if we are called upon to play a role in the storage of the vaccine, it will constitute a small portion of our capacity,” Dizon said.
“The industry is just waiting for the government to approach us,” he added.
In a previous report,. said the government is now in discussion with the private sector regarding the state-led distribution of COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m thankful to the private sector for throwing their support to us, like what they did when we ramped up our testing capacity,” said Galvez.
On the part of CCAP, however, Dizon said no official dialogue has so far taken place between the organization and the government regarding this matter.