NTF, IATF inspect cold chain storage warehouses for COVID-19 vaccines

Published January 20, 2021, 6:10 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Top officials of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 and the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) checked three cold storage warehouses that are being considered by the national government in storing millions of vaccine doses that will arrive beginning February.

NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. and IATF head, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, led the inspection of the Zuellig Pharma warehouse in Parañaque City; Unilab Pharma Campus warehouse in Binan City, Laguna; and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) warehouse in Muntinlupa City.

Galvez could not give the exact amount on how much it will cost the national government to pay for the usage of the pharmaceutical companies’ cold storage warehouses.

He, however, said that the amount will range from $2 to $2.5 per vaccine dose.

“We will still discuss this with the pharmaceutical companies and the vaccine manufacturers because we’re still in the middle of the negotiations of the supply agreement. But more or less, for each vaccine there is a rough estimate of maybe $2 to $2.5 per dose. That’s our internet calculation,” Galvez said in a press breifing at the Zuellig warehouse in Paranaque City.

According to Galvez, the Zuellig and RITM warehouses will likely be used for the storage of the candidate vaccines of American firms Pfizer and Moderna since they require ultra cold temperatures of -20 and -70 to -80 degrees Centigrade.

Meanwhile, the Unilab warehouse can store vaccines at 2 to 8 degrees Centigrade which are fit for the vaccines of AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Novavax, and Sinovac.

Around 650 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines can be stored in warehouses with 2 to 8 degrees Centigrade specification; 40 million doses in -20 degrees Centigrade warehouses; and 6.5 million doses in -70 to -80 degrees Centigrade depot, according to Duque.

Duque also expressed confidence that there will be an adequate storage facility that can be used by the government once the vaccines arrive in the country.

Vaccine arrivals

The earliest date of arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in the country will be in February. 

Galvez said around 50,000 doses of China’s Sinovac will arrive on February 20, and an unspecified number of Pfizer vaccines are also scheduled to be delivered “sometime” in the same month.

Meanwhile, he noted that China will donate around 500,000 doses of Sinovac once its emergency use for application (EUA) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Two other pharmaceutical companies from two countries have also informed Galvez about their intention to donate their vaccines, according to Galvez.

“We will not declare yet because the negotiations are still ongoing. Two countries and two products,” he revealed.


Further, Galvez said he has already negotiated with the vaccine manufacturers as to the transportation of the vaccines to the different vaccination centers.

“Sabi nila (They said that) we just identify the vaccination centers and they will provide the vaccines. Meaning they have service providers. That’s how they will deliver,” the vaccine czar said.