The Department of Health (DOH) assured that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines from the boat, which capsized in the waters off Quezon province are still fit for human use.
“Naimbestigahan na po natin iyan and apparently ito palang mga bakuna ay naka double na pagpa-plastic so hindi po sila nagalaw (We have already investigated this and apparently these vaccines were secured by two-layers of plastic. The vaccines are safe),” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire during the Laging Handa press briefing on Saturday, May 15.
“Atin din pong chineck yung potency at maaari pa ho siyang gamitin (We also checked the potency and we can still use them),” she said.
On Friday, May 14, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it responded to a “maritime incident involving the service boat of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that capsized at approximately 100 meters away from the shoreline of Barangay Ungos, Real, Quezon” on Thursday, May 13, at 7:55 p.m.
The boat was carrying two boxes of COVID-19 vaccines, two personnel of the DOH, two police officers of the Municipal Police Station in Polillo, as well as its boat captain and motorman, the PCG said.
“According to the passengers, the DA service boat accidentally hit the concrete post along the vicinity waters off Barangay Ungos, causing it to capsize,” the PCG said.
The PCG said that “all individuals were rescued and were declared in good physical condition.”
“Upon settling down, the two DOH personnel made proper coordination with their respective unit to check the condition of the COVID-19 vaccines and conduct appropriate measures,” it added.
Meanwhile, Vergeire said that the DOH is currently investigating an incident where at least 300 COVID-19 vaccines had been stored in a freezer without electricity in Cotabato City.
“We already coordinated with the regional office there to conduct the initial investigation and submit to us the report,” she said.
“Let us wait for the final investigation report bago tayo makapagbigay ng impormasyon ukol diyan (before we provide information on that),” she added.