Thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses destroyed in Pagadian City fire

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Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur (CNN Philippines, November 1) — Thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccine were destroyed after a fire hit a local government facility Sunday evening, a health official said.

The Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Government Center in Barangay Dao, Pagadian City houses the offices of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), Department of Health (DOH) Provincial Office and Philippine Red Cross (PRC).

Dr. Anatalio Cagampang Jr., chief of the IPHO and the Zamboanga del Sur Medical Center, said the vaccines include AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Sinovac and other routine vaccines for hepatitis, measles, polio among others.

Cagampang sad an investigation has yet to account for the damage.

An initial report stated that the fire began at the ground floor maintenance hall, below the IPHO.

Cagampang said smoke filled the third and fourth floors of the adjacent structure where COVID-19 patients with moderate symptoms were admitted .

Twelve patients were temporarily evacuated to a nearby ward. Officials declared a fire out at 3:10 a.m.

No one was reported hurt.

Blood supply shortage seen

Meanwhile, Zamboanga del Sur and parts of Lanao may face blood supply shortage because of the damage to the PRC office, an official said.

Dr. Reynaldo Ortiz, PRC Zamboanga del Sur-Pagadian City chairman, said the fire damaged their lobby.

"Some items were either damaged due to heat exposure especially those with plastic parts and its wirings but all in all, bulk of the machines were okay but still needs to be checked,” he said.

Personnel secured blood supplies and distributed these to hospitals.

Ortiz said supply in the coming weeks will be a concern as they have to transport blood for processing.

The DOH has two blood processing centers in the Zamboanga Peninsula - in Pagadian and Zamboanga City. The other processing center outside the region is in Cagayan de Oro City.