IN light of the government’s largest vaccine procurement for the year that would bring over 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines to the country, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año urged all local government units (LGUs) to be ready to receive and handle the vaccines when they arrive.
“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.
The DILG chief commended 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 reminded LGUs about the necessary preparations they need to undertake before the doses arrive on Philippine shores. He reiterated the storage temperature requirements for vaccines such as Pfizer-BionTech which range from minus 80 to minus 60 degrees centigrade. Maintaining the vaccines in these temperatures ensures 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 said.
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 so that they readiness maybe assessed.
Meanwhile, 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 to continue their efforts in vaccine demand generation amongst their constituents.
“We must continue our initiatives in combatting 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 Spox said he is confident 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.