Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ADB cautions poor infrastructure will delay vaccination in rural Philippines

ADB cautions poor infrastructure will delay vaccination in rural Philippines

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A city hall employee takes part in a vaccination simulation in Manila on January 19, ahead of the expected arrival of Covid-19 coronavirus vaccines in the capital city the following month. AFP

ADB cautions poor infrastructure will delay vaccination in rural Philippines

Poor infrastructure and the lack of cold storage facilities in the countryside will slow down the Philippines’ vaccination programme to inoculate the entire population, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on February 23.

Citing earlier projections from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the ADB said in a report that it would take the Philippines up to the fourth quarter of 2023 to finish vaccinating the rest of its population after prioritising vulnerable groups.

Compared to other ASEAN countries, vaccination rollout in the Philippines would lag behind Singapore’s plan to finish inoculation by the fourth quarter of this year, Vietnam’s by the second quarter of next year, Brunei and Thailand in the third quarter of 2022, Malaysia in the second quarter of 2023 and Indonesia by the third quarter of 2023.

The Philippines’ timetable to vaccinate the entire population is the same as in Bangladesh, Nepal, Samoa and Tonga.

Poorer Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and East Timor may take up to 2024 or beyond to vaccinate all of their respective populations.

The ADB brief titled “Getting Ready for the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout” read: “In the Philippines, it is difficult to access rural and remote communities due to unpredictable weather, security concerns and poor infrastructure.

“Inadequate provision of transportation has seen healthcare workers resort to hiring private motorcycles and pump boats to deliver and administer vaccines.

“Refrigerators in health centres in rural areas are subject to intermittent power supply with no backup power source. Vaccine wastage also occurs owing to a lack of skilled personnel.”

Citing 2020 data by logistics firm DHL, the ADB said cold-chain logistics in the Philippines scored four out of five as the highest score in terms of preparedness for facilities that required conventional temperature requirements or about 2-8 degrees Celsius, which AstraZeneca vaccines, for instance, needed as storage temperature.

But in case vaccines needed stringent temperature requirements of as low as minus 80C, cold-chain facilities in the Philippines scored only two out of five. Pfizer vaccines, in particular, needed to be stored at as low as minus 70C.

In an earlier report, the ADB said the Philippines faced constraints in vaccine financing as “the government estimates that 82.5 billion pesos [$1.70 billion] will be required to provide vaccines to approximately 55 per cent of the country’s population – still short of its plan to vaccinate all Filipinos by 2023”.

Citing the vaccine allocation plan prepared by the Department of Health, the ADB had said the Philippine government targeted to vaccinate 25.35 million Filipinos in 2021, 44.63 million in 2022, and 41.77 million in 2023, since by that time the Philippines would have a total population of 112.89 million.



  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and