LGUs in Region 12 acquiring ultra-low temperature freezers for COVID-19 vaccines

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 19 August) – Health authorities in Region 12 or Soccsksargen are expecting the delivery of more temperature-sensitive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines in the coming days as local government units (LGUs) continue to expand their cold chain facilities.

Dr. Edvir Jane Montañer, the immunization manager of the Department of Health – Region 12 (DOH-12), said in a briefing on Thursday that at least three LGUs have already acquired sub-zero or ultra-low temperature freezers (ULF) that could store vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.

She said these are the cities of Kidapawan and Cotabato and the municipality of Polomolok in South Cotabato.

“They are capable of storing a thousand vials of Pfizer vaccines,” Montañer said, noting that each vial is equivalent to at least seven doses.

The local government of Tacurong City earlier reported the delivery of its newly acquired ULF, but she said it has not yet formally notified the DOH-12 about the matter.

The DOH central office said in an earlier advisory that Pfizer vaccines require storage with temperatures between -80 and -60 degrees Celsius, and -25 to -15 degrees Celsius for Moderna.

Montañer said Kidapawan City already received early this month some 4,680 doses of Pfizer vaccines, the first for Region 12.

Polomolok received some 6,600 doses of Moderna vaccines last week and is waiting for its Pfizer allocation along with Cotabato City from the National Vaccine Operations Center, she said.

The official said they are currently fast-tracking the acquisition of two high-capacity ULFs for the DOH-12 regional vaccine hub based in Cotabato City.

She said the ULFs, which are in the advanced procurement process, are capable of storing over 50,000 vials of Pfizer vaccines each.

“Right now, we immediately deliver the vaccines to the LGUs while we are waiting for our own ULFs,” she said.

The national government already delivered a total of 701,354 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the region since the mass vaccination activities started last March.

These are composed of AstraZeneca, Sinovac’s CoronaVac, Russia’s Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, Pfizer and Moderna. (MindaNews)