Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Thursday assured local government units (LGUs) that the country has enough vaccine supplies, and that a distribution plan for the doses nationwide is already in place.
“If they are lacking the supply, we will impose the day-to-last scheme that if their supply will last only for five days, that’s the time we will provide another supply good for 15 days or 20 days and then, if they finished jabbing in 10 days, another supply will be coming in,” Galvez, also the chief implementer of National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19, explained in an interview during the arrival of the oxygen concentrators donated by the Australian government.
The government has set up vaccine distribution strategies according to the logistical and vaccine handling capacities of the areas, he said.
Citing some challenges in the deployment, Galvez noted that these strategies will further prevent vaccine spoilage due to poor power supply, vaccine cold-storages, and jab expiration.
“Our strategy is to deploy all the sensitive vaccine to the urban population wherein there is enough electricity and also there is enough cold-chain system,” he said.
He was referring to the proper storage necessities of highly sensitive vaccines that require sub-zero temperatures such Pfizer, Moderna, and Sputnik V.
“We are slowly doing the deployment because we are looking at that possibility and we don’t want wastage,” he added.
Galvez said the NTF as well as the Department of Health (DOH) is carefully adhering to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to strictly avoid vaccine spoilage.
“Our DOH and CHD [Centers for Health Development], we are very careful and they make sure that the local government units have the capacity to handle vaccine, if not, we do a just-in-time deployment,” he said.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said there are 15,000 doses of vaccine wastage due to mishandling of temperature requirements and transportation excursion.
Duque said the recorded wastage stood at 0.025 percent out of the 53.8 million doses administered nationwide.
Galvez likewise cited that the other countries have previously experienced about 1 to 4 percent of vaccine wastage in their stockpile.
“We see that during the initial phase of the vaccination, many countries have even wasted more than that number,” he said, noting that the country’s vaccine wastage is minimal compared to other countries.
Galvez said the government is expanding the country’s vaccination program to other sectors as more Covid-19 vaccines are now being delivered.
However, he said they won’t disregard the prioritization of healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities to reduce fatality rates.
To date, the Philippines has administered a total of 53,838 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.