COTABATO CITY: More than 300 vials of Sinovac vaccines are feared to have been spoiled after these were kept in a non-functional freezer in Makilala, North Cotabato.
Dr. Eva Rabaya, North Cotabato provincial health chief, said Thursday the 348 vaccines had been forwarded to the Department of Health-Region 12 office here to determine if the doses are still safe for use.
Makilala municipal health officer Dr. Gina Sorilla, who was summoned by the municipal town council to explain, said the vaccines were intended for senior citizens.
Lito Cañedo, Makilala IATF spokesperson, said the vaccines were kept at the municipal health office’s freezer. However, a brownout occurred at about 12:30 p.m. last Friday (May 7).
“Because of the brownout, the health workers and the police in charge of securing the vaccines decided to transfer the vials to the freezer of the Makilala police office,” Cañedo said, adding that the freezer was powered by a generator during the duration of the brownout.
He said the power supply from Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco) was restored at about 2 p.m. Friday but no one managed to switch the electrical supply back on using the regular power source after the generator shut down.
Cañedo said municipal office workers, including health personnel, left at 3 p.m. as part of health protocols.
“Nobody noticed it on Friday that the freezer was not switched backed to the regular power supply. Saturday and Sunday were no work days; it was only on Monday morning (May 10) that it was discovered by the personnel in charge from the town health office,” Cañedo said.
“I doubt if it was not spoiled,” he said in the vernacular. The DOH-12 officials are yet to issue a statement whether the vaccines are damaged or not.