Bingawan mayor decries report of vaccine wastage due to Typhoon Odette

PHOTO CAPTION: Bingawan mayor Mark Palabrica (right) vehemently denied earlier reports that his town lost some 100 vials of the Pfizer vaccine to wastage at the height of super-typhoon Odette’s destruction in Panay Island last week. Iloilo Provincial Administrator Atty. Dennis Ventilacion (left) agreed with him, saying Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor’s timely action days before the storm made it possible to save the vaccines. (N. Glenn Aragon/Photo courtesy of the Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas and Atty. Ventilacion’s Facebook pages)

ILOILO–Only a couple of days after it was first reported that the town of Bingawan had lost some 100 vials of Pfizer vaccines due to the power outage brought about by super-typhoon “Odette” last week, Mayor Mark Palabrica came out to vehemently deny the said report and insisted there was no wastage of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Wala sang wastage sa vaccines [There was no wastage of vaccines],” he stated, contradicting the Department of Health central office’s allegations made last Tuesday.

According to Palabrica, they devised contingency measures well in advance knowing that the Pfizer vaccines in their custody were temperature-sensitive and must be stored in the refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F) to keep them stable and viable.

“Preparado kami. May contingency plan kag standby generators kami. So far, subong, wala sang wastage sang (COVID-19) vaccines diri sa Bingawan [We were prepared. We had a contingency plan and standby generators. So far, as we speak, there is no wastage of COVID-19 vaccines here in Bingawan],” he said, adding he had already gotten in touch with Provincial Health Office (PHO) chief Dr. Ma. Socorro Quiñon regarding the issue.

NOT A SINGLE VIAL LOST

Provincial Administrator Atty. Dennis Ventilacion himself confirmed the Province of Iloilo did not lose a single vial of vaccine due to Odette.

He said that days before the typhoon hit Panay Island, Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor, Jr. had ordered all local government units to brace themselves and prepare for any eventuality.

Ventilacion said LGUs were asked if they were confident their vaccine storage facilities were secure and if they had generators as backup in case of power failure. They were also given the option to transport their vaccines to the Provincial Capitol for temporary storage.

“Pero ang tanan naton nga kabanwahanan may mga gen sets so waay na naton ginkuha ang mga bakuna sa ila [All our towns have gen sets so there was no need for the vaccines to be transferred],” he said. (N. Glenn Aragon/iNews)

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