For Covid Vaccine Storage, Philippines May Tap Meat and Fish Freezers for Help

The Philippines is preparing cold storage for Covid-19 vaccines, with government telling industry groups with facilities for storing meat and fish to be ready to help in keeping and distributing the shots.

The Southeast Asian nation plans to ramp up its cold chain capacity, expecting higher demand as the country buys vaccines that require low temperature, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said in a statement. The Philippine cold chain industry expects revenues to hit 20 billion pesos ($416 million) by end-2023.

Local cold-chain logistics operators can help distribute the vaccines throughout the archipelago, as low-temperature storage facilities are mostly in cities, said Anthony Dizon, president of the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines. The group is waiting for the government’s final decision on which shots to buy, he added.

The Philippines, which has Southeast Asia’s second-worst coronavirus outbreak, plans to buy 148 million vaccine doses this year toinoculate more than half of its population. It is eyeing tosign supply deals this week with vaccine-makers includingAstraZeneca Plc. andSinovac Biotech Ltd. for 60 million doses to boost a vaccination plan which underpins the nation’s economic recovery.

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