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Vaccine transport time down to 50 minutes in government simulation

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The government was able to cut by half its target time to transport novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) from the airport to the cold storage facility during the simulation it conducted on Tuesday. 

In a press conference, Chief implementer of the government’s national policy on Covid-19 Carlito G. Galvez said they were able to bring the vaccine from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 in Pasay to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa within 50 minutes. 

He said they allocated 120 minutes to complete the process. 

Despite the significantly shorter processing and transportation time for the vaccine than what was anticipated, Galvez said they are still aiming to reduce it further. 

“The longer the vaccine stays outside the warehouse, the higher is the possibility there will be spoilage,” Galvez said. 

Galvez said they will be conducting two more simulation: an inter-agency dry run as well as a last rehearsal two to three days before the expected arrival of the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine from the Vaccines Global Access (Covax) facility this month.

The Pfizer-BioNTech requires to be constantly be kept approximately negative 70 degree Celsius to maintain its efficacy.  

As of Tuesday, the government is still waiting for notification from the Covax facility, when the vaccine shipment will arrive. 

Currently, Galvez said the Covax facility was only able to give a indicative date of when it will transport the vaccine, which is Feb. 15 or on the third week of Feb.

DOH wants 60-minute limit 

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III aims to limit the transportation time of Covid-19 vaccines to their destinations to around 60 minutes or even shorter.

He said this following the simulation drive of the vaccine rollout.

“Andito po tayo dahil bahagi po ito ng ating [We are here today for this is part of our] simulation exercises para makita yung [so that we can see the] actual time from the arrival of the vaccines from the airport, all the way to loading of the vaccines…,” Duque said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that 117,000 doses of from Pfizer-BioNTech are expected to arrive this month.

It will be distributed to several hospitals in Metro Manila and certain healthcare facilities in Cebu City and Davao City these are: the Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, Jose Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

The healthcare workers of the mentioned hospitals will be the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Duque said that if there are doses that would be left, the priority personnel of the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines will be vaccinated.

As of 4 p.m. of February 9, the Covid-19 cases in the country surged to 540, 227.

There 1,235 additional cases, 53 recoveries, and 65 deaths.

Of the total number of cases 5.4 percent (29,167) are active cases, 92.5 percent (499,764) have recovered, and 2.09 percent (11,296) have died.

Image credits: AP/Aaron Favila
Read full article on BusinessMirror

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