‘Be creative’: Galvez tells LGUs to secure ancillaries as syringe shortage hampers vaxx program

Published November 13, 2021, 2:21 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The national vaccination program against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is facing a new challenge as there is now a global shortage of ancillary supplies including syringes.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 7, 2021 a syringe is filled with a first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic during a back to school event offering school supplies, Covid-19 vaccinations, face masks, and other resources for children and their families at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA in Los Angeles, California. Pfizer and BioNTech on August 16, 2021 submitted preliminary clinical data to US health authorities as part of their effort to seek authorization for a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine for all Americans. Patrick T. FALLON / AFP

In a statement Friday, Nov. 12, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. advised local government units (LGUs) to “be creative” in securing the much-needed items, particularly the 0.3 milliliter (ml) variety of syringes used specifically for Pfizer vaccine, to ensure an unhampered rollout of the vaccination program in the communities.

“Very acute and limited ang supply nito [0.3ml syringe] ngayon globally. Kaya noon pa man ay sinabihan na natin ang mga LGU na maghanda at bumili ng mga syringes (There is a very acute and limited supply of [0.3 ml] syringe globally. That’s why we have told the LGUs before to prepare and buy syringes),” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) has procured 44 million units of 0.3 ml syringes through the UNICEF but the delivery has been delayed due to supply shortage in the global market, according to National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) chair DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje.

She, however, said that there were about 5.9 million syringes which are compatible with most vaccine brands and are available in the government’s warehouses.

Galvez reiterated that it is the responsibility of LGUs to provide the ancillary supplies in the ongoing immunization program.

“Sa amin [national government] po ang bakuna, ang administration ay sa LGU. Kaya dapat magkaroon sila ng creative ways on how to produce these ancillary supplies (The [national government] provides the vaccine, the administration is on the LGU. That’s why they should think of creative ways on how to produce these ancillary supplies),” he noted.

The vaccine czar emphasized that LGUs should also have an adequate supply of cottons and alcohol for their vaccination drive.