covid 19 / Philippines

Baguio inks deal to buy 190K doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

By Liza Agoot  

BAGUIO CITY (Philippines News Agency) – The city government has finalized a tripartite agreement with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals assuring it will have enough for 190,000 residents of this city, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said on Monday.

Magalong said the agreement was signed between the city government, Department of Health (DOH), and the National Task Force on emerging and reemerging diseases on Sunday.

AstraZeneca is among the manufacturers of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines for worldwide utilization.

The 190,000 is the city’s projected number of qualified people ages 17 and above to be vaccinated based on the 370,000 estimated population of the city.

“We hope to immunize at least 70 to 80 percent of the residents to attain herd immunity,” Magalong said.

The city mayor earlier asked the city’s finance committee to make available PHP100 million which the city can utilize to purchase Covid-19 vaccines.

Magalong has also asked the city council to allow the allocation of an amount to be used for the vaccination program.

The city is purchasing additional vaccines to increase the number of people who can be vaccinated once available in the country.

He said the national government’s supply will be limited and there are specific groups of people who will be prioritized to be inoculated.

The others in the priority list who cannot be covered by the national allocation will be covered by the city’s allocation.

The mayor said that aside from the city-funded vaccines, they have listed at least 33,000 doses of vaccines to be provided by companies in the city, including a multinational company that is donating 10,000 doses to the city.

The private businesses have committed to double their requirement and give the other half to the city for the less fortunate residents who are not in the priority list.

To assure sufficient supply, Magalong also tasked the health and finance committees of the city government during the Management Committee meeting last week to jointly make a guideline for possible pooling of funds from residents who can afford to buy their own vaccines.

“Make the guidelines, we will open pre-orders from those who can afford to cover for themselves and their families by committing to advance the payment so that it can be added to what the city government will order,” he said. “There are many residents who can afford and I am sure they want to be part of those who would like to avail of the vaccine first without necessarily lining up to avail of the free vaccines from the government.”

Magalong said the national government is adopting prioritization for the vaccination with health workers being on top of the list to be vaccinated.

He said that in as much as the city government wants to cover everybody, there is limited allocation from the national government as well as the city government, thus the need to come up with schemes so that many will get the vaccines, if not all those within the eligible ages.

The guidelines for the participation of the individual residents in the vaccination is expected to be ready within the week. (PNA)

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