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Fire in Ilocos Norte town’s health office destroys vaccines

LAOAG CITY — Over 400 doses of mixed COVID-19 and pediatric vaccines were destroyed after a fire broke out at the health office in San Nicolas town in Ilocos Norte province on Friday, September 10, according to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

Initial investigation by the BFP showed that the fire started at 7:11 p.m. at the storage room for medical supplies at the second floor of the health office. The fire was immediately extinguished after almost 30 minutes. The storage room contained the vaccine chiller and refrigerator, investigators said.

The BFP said that faulty electric wiring might have caused the fire incident.

No casualties or injuries were reported by the BFP, while the total extent of the destruction is still being assessed.

The destruction of the COVID-19 vaccines at San Nicolas came at a time when the provincial government is “doing everything [it could] to expedite the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines as one of the measures to control the spread of the virus in the province.”

So far, Ilocos Norte has administered almost 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines among local residents, the provincial health task force said a statement on Friday.

As of Sept. 10, Ilocos Norte logged a total of 16,583 COVID-19 cases, including 2,064 active infections, 14,278 recoveries, and 241 deaths.

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