Refrigeration units for COVID-19 vaccine storage arrive in Manila

Published January 18, 2021, 4:02 PM

by Minka Klaudia Tiangco

Some refrigeration units that will be used to store coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) vaccines in Manila have arrived on Monday.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said that, although it may take a few months before the vaccines arrive in the country, the city has to prepare for it with the necessary equipment.

“In the meantime, we are preparing other facilities, our logistic capabilities, process of deployment, and future clients on top of medical frontliners and senior citizens,” he told reporters.

“What we did, in our own little way, is to buy all types of freezers and refrigerators for all types of vaccines,” he added.

Among some of the equipment that arrived are five refrigerator HYC-390, that can store AstraZeneca and/or Sinovac vials; two -25°C biomedical freezers and two -30°C biomedical freezers, that can store Janssen and/or Moderna vaccine vials. 

Domagoso said three -86°C ULT freezers, that can store Pfizer vaccine vials, are expected to arrive next week.

Each refrigeration unit is equipped with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to ensure the integrity of the vaccines. The equipment will be placed inside the Manila COVID-19 Vaccine Storage Facility at the Sta. Ana Hospital, which is also equipped with a power generator. 

The Manila mayor said they are set to inaugurate the storage facility by the end of January. 

The city government also bought 50 transport coolers that will be used for the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The new equipment costed the city government around P9 million, Domagoso said. 

Earlier, the Manila city government entered into an agreement with British-Swedish biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for the advance purchase of 800,000 COVID-19 vaccines.

Domagoso has also expressed intent to buy vaccines from other biopharmaceutical companies to give the public more options. 

“Basta, sa Maynila, pwede choosy (It’s okay to be choosy in Manila),” he quipped. 

Frontline health workers, senior citizens and other vulnerable sectors, and public school teachers will be prioritized in the city’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

Then, the city government will proceed to vaccinate those who pre-registered and reserved their slots for the vaccine at the website. 

The local chief executive said at least 72,000 residents have already registered on the said platform. 

Domagoso said they are aiming to inoculate up to 60 percent of the city’s population in the next two quarters.