The initial 15,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines that arrived on Saturday will allow the country to prepare and test logistical needs.
Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the vaccine from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute is different from the widely administered CoronaVac and AstraZeneca jabs as the former must be stored in temperatures ranging from minus 18 to minus 20 degrees Celsius.
China’s CoronaVac and British-Swede jab AstraZeneca can be stored at two to eight degrees temperature.
“The 15,000 doses, initially, can test our logistical capability to handle the Sputnik V vaccines. We saw that the vaccines arrived properly until the inoculation earlier,” Duque said in a press conference at Sta. Ana Hospital on Tuesday.
“The temperature needs to be consistent. We’ll try our best because like I said, this vaccine is like gold,” he added.
The next batch 485,000 doses may arrive “within the end of May”.
Dr. Grace Padilla, Sta. Ana Hospital director, said prior to administering the Sputnik V vaccines, they are frozen and will be thawed for three to five minutes.
“When it liquefies, it must be administered within two hours. That’s how sensitive it is,” she said.
She said 120 Manila healthcare workers have registered so far for Sputnik V.
“We are surprised that there are still a lot of front-liners who have not been vaccinated yet and they are willing to get the Gamaleya vaccine,” Padilla said.
Walther Rigonan, a senior administrative assistant at the hospital received the jab from Duque.
The only thing he felt, Rigonan said, was the excitement that it was Duque who injected him with the jab.
“This is a big morale booster. It seems like our worries are gone. It will be even better after the second dose. We are feeling confident with our jobs, especially in this hospital which is a Covid-19 center,” he said. (PNA)