US donates 42 vaccine freezers to PH

Published October 5, 2021, 1:50 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The United States has donated 42 cold-storage freezers to the Philippines which will be distributed to far-flung and geographically isolated areas with little to zero capability to handle coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, a pandemic task force leader revealed Monday night, Oct. 4.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. presents updates on the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program during the “Talk to the People” public address of President Duterte on oct. 4, 2021. (Screenshot from RTVM livestream)

Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said the donated freezers were part of the P1.9 billion aid recently turned over by America to the country for the pandemic response.

The freezers have temperature of -20 degrees Celsius and two to eight degrees Celsius which means that they can store sensitive vaccines such as the US-made Pfizer.

“Two days ago dumating po ‘yong 42 freezers na gagamitin po natin na -20 at saka ‘yung two to eight. Kasi nakita po ng US na kulang na kulang po ‘yung ating mga freezer doon po sa mga geographically isolated areas (Two days ago, 42 freezers with temperature of -20 and two to eight [degrees Celsius] arrived which we can use. This is because the US saw that we have an inadequate number of freezers in geographically isolated areas),” Galvez told President Duterte during the “Talk to the People” public address.

“Forty-two na mga municipalities ang puwede pong gumamit po noon, Mr. President (Forty-two municipalities can use them, Mr. President),” he added.

Aside from the freezers, the US has also donated 6.3 million doses of Pfizer, three million doses of Moderna, and 3.2 million doses of Johnson & Johnson to the Philippines through direct sharing and the COVAX facility since July.

Galvez praised the newly-designated US Charge d’Affaires Heather Variava for facilitating the delivery of America’s assistance to the country.

Duterte had said that he was inclined to visit America to personally thank US President Joe Biden and the American people for their help to the Filipino people amid the pandemic.