“Mayor, prepared po tayo. Kaya po natin makuha ang mga vaccines, including Pfizer at saka Moderna. Mayroon po tayong kakayahan po (Mayor, we are prepared. We can acquire vaccines, including Pfizer and Moderna. We have the capacity to do so),” Galvez told President Rodrigo Duterte in a televised meeting on Monday night.
He said the Department of Health – Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM) has already procured ultra-cold chain refrigerators that can store about one million vaccines with a temperature requirement of up to -70°C. (Read: Here’s what you need to know about the COVID-19 Vaccination Program here in the Philippines)
In preparation for the deployment of the vaccines, Galvez said they had inspected possible cold chain storage facilities nationwide.
The government has also partnered with local pharmaceutical firms for scaling up cold chain storage facilities.
Meanwhile, he cited the importance of an information drive to counter the misinformation posed by the “anti-vaxxers” on social media.
Anti-vaxxers refer to people who disagree with the use of vaccines for a variety of reasons.
“Ito po ang medyo may problema po tayo na talagang dapat po pagtulungan po natin. Alam po namin na malaki po ang maitutulong ng ating Mayor, Presidente, Mr. President, kasi po talagang bumababa po ‘yung willingness at saka ‘yung uptake ng ating mga kababayan dahil nga po sa mga tinatawag nating mga nakikitang mga adverse effect ng certain brands (This is a problem that we need to address together. We know that the President will be of great help because the willingness of our countrymen to get the vaccine is decreasing due to the adverse effects of certain brands),” Galvez said.
He noted that the presence of anti-vaxxers is one of the reasons why some Filipinos are hesitant.
“At the same time, malakas po yung social media ng mga anti-vaxxers. So ito po malaki pong hamon po ito (the anti-vaxxers have a strong social media presence. This is a huge challenge),” Galvez said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, he said, is also helping the government’s aggressive information dissemination campaign.
The DOH and the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) have earlier launched the “Explain, Explain, Explain” campaign to relay all the updates on the Covid-19 vaccine deployment and the national inoculation plan.
Galvez remarked the business sector is also assisting the government in convincing people to support the mass vaccination rollout.
“Nagawa na rin po natin ito noong during testing na — at saka during nang nagkaroon tayo ng Ingat Angat Para Sa Lahat na naging maganda po ‘yung tinatawag nating, ‘yung improvement sa minimum health standard (We have done this already during testing and when we launched our ‘Ingat Angat Para Sa Lahat’ program, which resulted in improvements in the minimum health standards),” he said.
On the other hand, Galvez said the government would procure vaccines that are already widely used in other countries.