Government in talks with more than 30 firms for storage of COVID-19 vaccines
A picture taken on January 15, 2021, shows phials of the undiluted Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19, stored at -70 ° in a super freezer of the hospital of Le Mans, northwestern France as the country carry on a vaccination campaign to fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus. After dilution the vial contains five doses of 0,3ml for intramuscular use.

Government in talks with more than 30 firms for storage of COVID-19 vaccines

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - January 19, 2021 - 7:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government is coordinating with more than 30 logistics companies as it prepares for the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines it ordered from various drug makers, an official said Tuesday.

National Task Force against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said the government has spoken to 28 third-party logistics firms and is talking to five others to ensure that there would be cold storage facilities for the vaccines. 

"We need very special facilities for the vaccines to be delivered. This is what they call pharma-grade cold chain facilities or pharma-grade cold storage facilities. These more than 30 companies are the biggest and they have this capacity," Dizon said at a press briefing. 

The 28 companies that the government has spoken with are Orca, Royal Cargo, Maersk Shipping, Grepcor Diamonde, Pharmaserv, Vantaztic Inc., LBC Express Inc., Distriphil, Metropac Movers, Royal Cold Storage, Coolaire, Centiforce, M-Fast Logistics, Zuellig, Genson Distribution Inc., SMX Convention Center, Medical Rescue, Dynatronics/Braintech, Cebu Pacific, Skyjet Airlines, 2GO, Smart-Tradzt, Novatus Technologies, IP Biotech Inc., PAL, Sinobest, Frabelle Cold Chain, and Cold Chain Care. The government will also hold talks with DB Schenker, AAI Worldwide Logistics, DHL Global Forwarding, Regulus Global and Air Speed on January 21. 

Dizon said the negotiations with the logistics firms are now in the "very advanced" stage.

"But even if we have spoken to more than 30 companies, our vaccine czar (Carlito Galvez, Jr.) and the Department of Health will still talk to different companies and associations like the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines, especially for areas that are in the provinces," Dizon said. 

Dizon said Galvez, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and other members of the task force would conduct inspections of the storage facilities starting Wednesday, January 20. 

"We have coordinated closely with different vaccine companies to determine what should be done to preserve the vaccines once they arrive in the Philippines. Secretary Galvez also coordinated closely with different private sector companies that can handle these kinds of sensitive medicines," he added.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 26, 2021 - 11:25am

The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.

Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)

February 26, 2021 - 11:25am

Filipino soldiers may choose which COVID-19 vaccine brand they want to get inoculated with but they must pay if they opt out of using Sinovac, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson MGen. Edgard Arevalo says Friday.

The AFP aims to vaccinate all soldiers, with 304 medical services personnel, 72 vaccination teams and 47 vaccination sites ready.

"Pwede pong pumili ng ibang brand ng bakuna ang ating mga sundalo, sabihin lang po nila na gusto nila ng ibang brand... Subalit dahil nga po hindi naman 'yun ang laan para sa AFP na kailangang mabakunahan, kailangan po sila ay ang magbabayad ng brand ng bakuna na gustong maiturok sa kanila," Arevalo says at a press briefing.

February 25, 2021 - 12:05pm

The 600,000 donated doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive on Sunday, February 28, the Palace says.

February 24, 2021 - 8:51am

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca says its EU supply chains would only be able to deliver half of an expected supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the bloc in the second quarter — but that it would look to make up the shortfall from elsewhere.

A spokesman for the British drugs group tells AFP AstraZeneca was "working to increase productivity in its EU supply chain" and would use its "global capability in order to achieve delivery of 180 million doses to the EU in the second quarter". 

"Approximately half of the expected volume is due to come from the EU supply chain" while the remainder would come from its international supply network, he adds. —  AFP

February 23, 2021 - 9:52pm

Special envoy to China Mon Tulfo, who is also a columnist, says on ONE News, that he and other government officials were vaccinated with smuggled and unauthorized Sinopharm jabs.

Tulfo said he did not use his position as special envoy to get the Sinopharm doeses. "I just got hold of the vaccine from a friend who smuggled it into the country," he says on ONE News' "The Chiefs".

He says that other government officials also received the smuggled vaccine, "I just cant give their names," he says in Filipino.

He adds that others who received the smuggled vaccines were "Cabinet-level" officials and at least one senator.

February 22, 2021 - 4:28pm

The House of Representatives has passed the COVID-19 Vaccination Program bill on second reading.

A provision of the bill provides funding to cover expenses for people who have adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines. The House bill creates a P500-million indemnity fund for this. A previous verison of the bill did not specify the amount of funding. 

Since the bill has been certified urgent, the House may dispense with the "three-day rule" and pass it on third and final on the same day. 

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