Be ready for arrival of 40M Pfizer vaccines this year, Año tells LGUs

Published June 22, 2021, 6:50 AM

by Chito Chavez

With the expected arrival of more than 40 million Pfizer-Biontech vaccines in the country this year, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday, June 22, the need for the local government units (LGUs) to make the necessary preparations even before the doses reach local shores.

“This is a major development in our National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP). I call upon all LGUs and local chief executives (LCEs) to start their preparation to be able to properly receive these vaccines as early as now. Time is of the essence and we must do our duty to safely bring the vaccines to the people,” said Año.

With this development, Año cited vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. and Department of Health Secretary (DOH) Francisco Duque “for their extraordinary work in closing the deal for the procurement of an additional 40 million Pfizer doses.”

He reiterated the storage temperature requirements for vaccines such as Pfizer-BionTech which range from minus 80 to minus 60 degrees centigrade citing that maintaining the vaccines in these conditions ensure that they would not spoil and remain ready for use.

“These sensitive vaccines require additional care on our part. I echo Secretary Galvez’s call to LGUs to be ready in handling these vaccines and urge them to ensure the presence of third-party logistics and cold chain service providers,” he added.

Aside from the Pfizer-BionTech vaccines, Sputnik V and Moderna vaccines also have particular storage temperature requirements.

Both Sputnik V and Moderna need to be stored below 20 degrees centigrade to prevent spoilage.

The deliveries of the 40 million doses of Pfizer-BionTech vaccines will begin after eight weeks starting August and will primarily be delivered in bulk.

He directed all LGUs who are ready to receive Pfizer vaccines to coordinate with the DOH Regional Offices to ensure their readiness to receive the doses.

Vaccine demand

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said that the forthcoming deliveries of the 40 million Pfizer-BionTech doses is a “strong signal” to all LGUs and LCEs (local chief executives) to continue their efforts in vaccine demand generation amongst their constituents.

“We must continue our initiatives in combating vaccine hesitancy and increasing overall vaccine demand in the country. We will now have the doses for our people. Let us make our constituents aware that there are doses available for them and that all they need to do is register and get inoculated,” said Malaya.

The DILG official expressed confidence that through the united efforts of the national government and all LGUs, the country is on track to indeed “have a better Christmas for all Filipinos.”

The Pfizer-BionTech procurement will be financed through a multilateral agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), wherein payments will be directly paid by the fund manager to Pfizer to guarantee fiscal transparency as the funds will not be handled by any government agency or official during the whole procurement process.