MANILA, Philippines — Israeli health experts on Thursday (June 24) recommended to their Filipino counterparts the creation of a centralized storage hub for COVID-19 vaccines in order to reach remote areas.
In a meeting with the country’s health experts, Adam Segal, logistics and operations manager of Salomon Levid & Elstein Ltd. said it is best to have a mix of game plans when addressing the geographical difficulty in the delivery of vaccines.
“The best way is to use a combination of strategies — a combination of strategies where you store the vaccines, where you ship them whether by land, by sea, by air, shipment on dry ice, shipment in chilled conditions so there is no one solution. The only advise it would be is to have sufficient ancillary equipment, to have sufficient cold chain solutions,” he added.
“You should go for creating centralized hubs for Pfizer vaccines based on the ability to reach a certain population, and possibly with a customized approach in more remote areas,” he added.
He also suggested smaller packaging for the vaccines to keep it secure and minimize shaking during transport
The Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said the department is already providing additional assistance to remote areas, especially Mindanao which is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“We have been providing much more support to Mindanao and the provinces and cities which are on a surge so essentially in the area of health service delivery we are providing more life-saving equipment like mechanical ventilator and high-flow nasal cannulas to our hospitals who are providing care for our severe to critical COVID-19 cases,” he said.
“We have also instructed our regional offices in Mindanao to ensure that the private hospitals expand their COVID-19 bed capacity from 20% to 30% and for the government hospitals from 30% to 50%. We have also instructed that the isolation beds in those hospitals be immediately converted to ICU bed capacities,” he added.
Meanwhile, DOH Usec. Myrna Cabotaje requested the Israeli team to provide samples of their vials in order for the Philippines to reproduce the same. She also addressed how the vaccines should be immediately shipped to remote areas for the vaccines to remain safe for use.
“We are also considering how fast we can ship them without double handling so we can ensure that the vaccines are still safe and effective when they are jabbed,” she said. AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)