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Para handa na pagdating: Precious Castelo bats for cold storage facilities for COVID-19 vaccine

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Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo has filed a measure requiring the government to prepare cold storage facilities for keeping and distributing the COVID-19 vaccine.

House Bill 8000 empowers the Department of Health to “urgently prepare for the provision” of cold storage facilities “in accordance with specifications that are suitable for the safekeeping of the vaccines.”

Castelo said based on information on the Internet, vaccines can be stable for 30 days at temperatures ranging from two degrees to eight degrees Celsius.

Longer storage would require temperatures below freezing point so vaccines won’t spoil, she said.

“Establishing or finding safe storage facilities with such specification and standard in Metro Manila, the regions and in provinces, cities and towns, will be a big problem for the DOH,” she said.

Castelo said transporting, storing and distributing the vaccine would be a big challenge, “assuming that vaccine makers have already agreed to sell to us and we have already paid for their product.”

“I suppose we will get it from them. So how do we safely transport it? By plane? How many planes or flights are needed to ferry vaccines for 20 million Filipinos? Once it is here, where do we store it? How do we deliver it to the provinces, to remote communities? These are some of the questions that need answers,” she said.