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Gov’t in talks with logistic companies for vaccine storage

THE GOVERNMENT is in talks with dozens of logistic companies in time for the arrival of coronavirus vaccines in mid-February, an official said on Tuesday.

The state is in “advanced negotiations” with 28 cold chain providers, Vivencio B. Dizon, the country’s COVID-19 testing czar, told an online news briefing on Tuesday. It’s also in talks with five other companies.

Among the companies he cited were Orca, Royal Cargo and Zuellig Pharma. Novatus Technologies, Inc., PAL Holdings, Inc., 2GO Group, Inc. and IP Biotech, Inc. had also been tapped for the distribution and storage of COVID-19 vaccines.

Mr. Dizon said the government would also tap the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines (CCAP) for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to the countryside.

The government expects to receive the first vaccine made by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech Ltd. on Feb. 20.

Before the vaccine could reach any areas in the Philippines, the government must ensure that it has the facilities and manpower for the distribution.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire last month said the government already had freezers for vaccines that could be stored at refrigerator temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

Some private partners can convert their existing freezers to accommodate vaccines that require minus 20 Celsius, she said.

Two private suppliers have also committed to set up freezers for vaccines that require temperatures of negative 70 to negative 80 degrees Celsius, she added. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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