Less than an hour to secure arriving vaccines

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THE government rollout of vaccines from the time it lands on Philippine soil won’t take an hour – that is if each and every agency that took part in the simulation exercises on Tuesday would do exactly the same on the day that the COVID-19 vaccines arrive.

In a briefing shortly after the simulation exercise in preparation for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines this month, vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez said that they actually allotted two full hours just for that, but went faster than expected.

“Maganda ‘yung execution, ibig sabihin natin ‘yung lahat ng mga parts, ‘yung mga driver, ‘yung mga operator and even ‘yung mga utility, they precisely [did] their part,” Galvez said.

Galvez said that everyone who took part in the exercise should show the same precision, adding that there is “no room for error” in the rollout of vaccines, specifically that of the Pfizer-BioNTech doses, which he described as “very delicate.”

 “The more na matagal ang vaccine outside of the warehouse, malaki ang possibility na magkaroon tayo ng spoilage… Mas maganda na mas mapaliit pa natin ‘yung time,” he said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 and the Philippine National Police planned and implemented the simulation exercise, which started at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport where the “vaccines” were unloaded and underwent Customs clearance. The “vaccines” were then transported to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for inspection.

After the inspection at the RITM, the “vaccines” will be transported to healthcare facilities.

Simulation is deemed necessary to avoid vaccine wastage.

The Philippines is set to receive 117,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, just enough for 58,500 health workers.

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