DAVAO CITY, Feb. 17 (PIA) – The Davao International Airport is preparing for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines which requires the shortest amount of time staying in the airport.
“According to the orientation the vaccine should stay for a specific time period lang within our airport and its travel time is calculated in order for the vaccines not to be compromised when it comes to the handling requirements,” said Rex Obcena, airport manager of DIA.
“So my instructions is to make available all facilities in the airport so we can expedite the movement of the vaccines,” Obcena said.
The airport manager said they can open the crash gates if asked to, plus other requests they will accommodate so that vaccines will not be delayed in coming out of the airport.
During the Feb. 10 simulation exercise at the DIA, where the arrival of the Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 vaccines was rehearsed, the total time and motion process was recorded at 34 minutes, 58 seconds and 74 milliseconds, measured from the total stop of the aircraft to the storage of the vaccines at the Southern Philippines Medical Center’s ultra low temperature freezer.
“There is a discussion in the national level that if it is more than 30 minutes from the total time allotted, tataas ang temperature to -60, which is 10 degrees higher, unfortunately during our simulation exercise, we have no thermometer to check if the temperature was really affected that is what we’re looking at,” Dr. Raquel Montejo, operations chief of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program in Davao Region said during the press conference following the Feb. 10 simex.
During the Feb. 10 simex, health officials noticed the delay from the time the aircraft landed to until the vaccine was unloaded from the aircraft.
According to Obcena, he gave instructions to make available for the vaccine-carrying aircraft the nearest bay to the waiting refrigerated van in order to cut the time of travel.
He said that with the nearest bay, vehicles going to the aircraft to get the vaccines will no longer be necessary. Obcena said that having unauthorized vehicles going near aircraft at the tarmac would raise safety issues.
“Aviation safety dictates that only authorized vehicles, ground vehicles which were trained by us in safety are allowed to go near the aircraft,” Obcena said. (PIA/RG Alama)