Press Release
January 31, 2021

Use vaccine wait to stockpile syringes, freezers because 'we mustn't wait for the horse to build the cart'

While the government's global hunt for COVID vaccines has not yet led to deliveries to the hardest-hit country in the Western Pacific, it should, in the meantime, stock up on vaccination supplies such as syringes, which are available in the market.

The call was made by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, who said that government should be "building up inventory of important things aside from vaccines, yung mga bagay na walang supply crunch."

"You don't have to wait for the horse to arrive before you start building the cart," Recto said, referring to "ancillary requirements" for vaccination that range from PPEs and syringes to refrigerators.

"There are also things which cannot be taken for granted, like transportation, and even small things like ice boxes needed for the last mile," Recto said.

Government officials have claimed during the recent Senate hearing on the national vaccination plan that the current DOH stockpile of 30.5 million pieces of 0.5 ml syringes, 3.6 million pieces of mixing syringes, 3.8 million safety collector boxes, 3.6 million pieces of face masks, and 151,761 pieces of face shields are enough to meet initial vaccination requirements.

"That is the assurance the DOH and IATF people have given us. At sinabi nila na kung kulang, it can be scaled up," Recto said.

But Recto said the national stockpile should consider a possible surge in cases on top of regular caseloads of public hospitals.

"The other important thing is that this should be forward-deployed now to towns. Hindi pwedeng trickle-down ang mga 'yan, tapos last minute pa," Recto said.

"In the case of refrigerators that vaccines will need, there should now be a town-level listing of their availability. Vaccines are like ice cream, you don't buy them in bulk without having a place to store them," he said.

"Depende rin sa klase ng bakuna. Swerte tayo kung ang mabibili natin, hindi kailangan ng ultra-low temperature. Pfizer's will need special equipment, while Johnson and Johnson's reportedly has no need for refrigeration," he said.

But the good thing about regular freezers, Recto said, "is that these are not single-use disposables like syringes. Kaya pagkatapos ng pandemic, pwedeng gamitin ng ospital o clinic."

"So these, like masks, syringes and PPEs either have long or no 'best before' expiry dates. So better to have them in stock now, than waste precious vials of vaccine because a clinic had run out of syringes," he said.

News Latest News Feed