December 10, 2022

Even with one local government having the logistics to keep vaccines requiring ultra-cold storage, the rollout of Pfizer-Biontech and Sputnik V vaccines in the Cordillera is uncertain.

Last May 1, around 15,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology have been delivered in the Philippines. These vaccines were deployed in Manila, Makati, Taguig, Parañaque, and Muntinlupa.

The government is negotiating to procure 20 million doses of the vaccine, but when the succeeding batches will be delivered has not been announced.

In a press conference on May 5, Department of Health-Cordillera Asst. Director Amelita Pangilinan said the region might not receive doses of Sputnik V because of temperature requirements.

Pangilinan said for vaccines that are sensitive to temperature, deploying them to the nearest health facility is more practical than risking spoilage while in transit.

Last May 10, the Philippines received 193,050 doses of the first batch of Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines from the Covax facility of the World Health Organization.

The vaccines will be deployed in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.

Like the Sputnik V, it is also unclear if the Cordillera will be included as a recipient of the succeeding batches of Pfizer-BioNTech to be delivered as decisions are made by the national government, said DOH-Cordillera Nurse V Joycelyn Rillorta.

Of the four vaccines now being used in the Philippines, Sputnik and Pfizer require storage in temperatures below zero. Both also registered the highest efficacy rate with 95 percent and 91.6 percent, respectively, compared to the 70.4 percent for Oxford-AstraZeneca and 65 percent to 91 percent for Sinovac’s Coronavac.

Regardless of the brand, the DOH has advised those eligible to have themselves vaccinated when their turn comes.

“The vaccines are here – with more to arrive in the coming months. Let us take advantage of this opportunity for us to protect not only ourselves, but also our loved ones and everyone around us,” Pangilinan said.

As of May 10, a total of 45,780 individuals have been vaccinated in the A1, A2, and A3 categories.

Other vaccine manufacturers recently issued emergency use authorization by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration are Johnson&Johnson (Janssen Pharmaceutical Company) and Bharat BioTech (Covaxin). – Rimaliza A. Opiña