Galvez bares PH coronavirus vaccine distribution plan

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The coronavirus vaccine czar on Thursday said he is eyeing two factors to make vaccine use and distribution successful: targeted logistics and public information. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 10) — The coronavirus vaccine czar on Thursday said he is eyeing two factors to make vaccine use and distribution successful: targeted logistics and public information.

Speaking at a forum of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, COVID-19 response chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said vaccines that require ultra-cold storage temperatures will be deployed in urban areas, while those that require refrigeration temperature may be distributed to "geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas."

“Why geographical? So that those affected areas can be immediately contained, and then we can provide consumer confidence and full economic recovery on those areas,” Galvez said, citing the need to inoculate people in economic centers.

This is in line with the government's earlier pronouncements of making sure vaccines are dispatched first to areas with high infections, such as Metro Manila and Calabarzon, with frontline healthcare workers, senior citizens, and uniformed personnel getting the first doses.

Vaccines requiring ultra-cold storage, such as Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine which need storage temperatures of up to -70°C may be given to Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro. Others may be given vaccines made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, which may be stored at temperatures ranging from 2°C to 8°C.

Galvez said this will ensure vaccine efficacy.

Medyo may kahirapan po talaga 'yung nakikita natin," he said. "Magkakaroon tayo ng malaking wastage kasi po 'pag 'yung isang na-waste na hindi po namaintain 'yung negative 70, there’s a possibility na hindi na po effective 'yung vaccine."

[Translation: There is a possibility of big wastage if the temperature is not maintained. There is a possibility the vaccine may no longer be effective.]

Galvez said government officials taking the lead in getting vaccinated may appease those having second thoughts about taking the vaccine.

Maganda nga, kayo ang mauna, to gain confidence for the people,” Galvez said, addressing a crowd of governors, vice governors, mayors, vice mayors, city and municipal council officials, and provincial board members. “Kasi 'yung ibang mga tao, takot. Pero kapag tayo ang nauna...at least it would quell 'yung fear of the vaccine.”

[Translation: It’s better if you would take the lead for the people to gain confidence. Other people are afraid, but if we take the lead...it would quell fears about the vaccine.]

A Social Weather Stations survey showed 66% of adult Filipinos are willing to get vaccinated.

Galvez said local governments should help communicate vaccine information including potential side effects, as well as the required number and sequence of vaccine doses.

COVID-19 cases nationwide are now at 445,540, according to data from the Health Department. Of this number, 409,058 have recovered, while 8,701 have succumbed to the disease.