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Metro Manila to serve as COVID vaccine central hub

CNN Philippines — Metro Manila will serve as the central hub for all COVID-19 vaccines — with other cold chain hubs strategically located nationwide for easier distribution, Health Department spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Friday.

The government is in talks with the private sector to establish cold storage rooms and walk-in freezers to keep vaccines, including those requiring ultra-cold storage, such as Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine.

Sa ngayon ang ating plano ay magkaroon tayo ng apat na cold storage rooms at dalawang walk-in freezers sa Metro Manila because this will be the central hub of all vaccines,” Vergeire said in a forum.

The Philippines has secured vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac, and AstraZeneca, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said. Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccines need storage temperatures of up to -70°C. Other vaccines, such as those manufactured by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, may be stored in regular freezers with temperatures ranging from 2°C to 8°C.

The government will also put up cold chain hubs in Bicol, Cebu, and Zamboanga for easier distribution in the regions.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said vaccines that require ultra-cold storage may be distributed to Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro, while rural areas may receive those made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca.

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