MANILA – The National Task Force Against Covid-19 on Sunday said it can replace vaccines damaged during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette last month.
NTF Against Covid-19 head of strategic communications, Assistant Secretary Wilben Mayor, made the assurance during a phone interview shortly after the arrival of 2,703,870 doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines donated by the US government through the COVAX Facility.
He said the country has enough supply of jabs that could replenish the spoiled ones when "Odette" hit parts of Palawan, Visayas, and Mindanao on Dec. 16 and 17, 2021.
"If there were damaged or spoiled shots, we can replace them. We have sufficient reserves to make that good," Mayor told the Philippine News Agency.
The replacement, however, will take some time since some typhoon-affected areas still have no electricity which could compromise the potency of the jabs.
“Doon sa tinamaan ng Odette kasi walang kuryente, iyon ang isa. Hindi sustainable ang power doon. Hindi pa siya appropriate na magpadala ngayon. Pangalawa, ang priority ng mga tao ngayon siyempre ang kabuhayan muna nila at saka ang bahay, pagkain. Iyon ang priority doon. But again iyong mga nasira, definitely papalitan iyon (Some provinces hit by Typhoon Odette still have no electricity, that is one. Power is not sustainable there so it is not yet appropriate to send vaccines now. Secondly, the priority of the people there is, of course, their livelihood first and then house, food. That’s the priority there. But again those damaged will definitely be replaced)," he stressed.
Vaccines should be stored in cold storage facilities.
According to the Department of Health, at least 21,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines were wasted in the province of Iloilo, and in Central Visayas (Region 7), Eastern Visayas (Region 8), and Caraga (Region 13).
To date, the country has received 213,487,520 doses.
As of Saturday, the Philippines has already administered 112,745,559 doses of coronavirus vaccines nationwide, including second doses for 52,109,143 Filipinos
Mayor and Melinda Angeles, United Nations Children's Fund project assistant, welcomed the shipment flown in by Silk Way West Airlines at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, (PNA)