WHILE awaiting the world’s first vaccine against the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), there’s that urgent need to establish more cold storage facilities across the Philippines.
The cold storage facilities, to be under the control of the Department of Health (DOH), will store the various vaccines being used by the government in the fight against certain diseases.
The government immunization program includes several vaccine-preventable diseases, including tuberculosis (TB), poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles and Hepatitis-B.
The mandatory basic immunization is given free at any government hospital or health center for children up to five years old.
And Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, concurrently DOH spokesperson, said “Gusto natin na bawat region (ay) meron tayong hubs at kung possible sana per province.”
Vergeire said this is to ensure that vaccines, including the anti-COVID-19 vaccines that are being tested in Russia, China, the United States and other countries, maintain their effectiveness.
At present, the DOH, headed by Secretary Francisco Duque III of vote-rich Pangasinan, is using the storage facility of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City.
In case there would be shortage of cold storage facilities, Vergeire said the DOH is reaching out to various groups to expand their storage facilities in preparation for the COVID-19 vaccines.
The current COVID-19 vaccines that are in advanced stages in terms of testing have different requirements for cold storage. Some need to be stored under ultra-low temperatures.
The government, as proposed by the DOH, would do well to set up more cold storage facilities across the country to ensure the success of its nationwide immunization program.