Parañaque signs agreement for 200K AstraZeneca doses
Boxes of vials of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine are seen in a refrigerator at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol on January 9, 2021 one of seven mass vaccination centres which are set to open next week as Britain continues its vaccination programme against Covid-19.
Andrew Matthews/Pool/AFP

Parañaque signs agreement for 200K AstraZeneca doses

(Philstar.com) - January 13, 2021 - 11:55am

MANILA, Philippines — Parañaque City has joined the long and growing list of local governments in the Philippines securing coronavirus vaccines developed by British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca, its local chief executive disclosed Wednesday. 

In a statement on his official Facebook page, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said that the city had allocated an initial P250 million for its COVID-19 vaccination program, under which its residents would be vaccinated for free. 

As it stands, many other city mayors have also already signaled their intent to secure vaccination for their constituents ahead of the rollout of the mass vaccination program by the national government and the Department of Health.

“Once these vaccines are delivered, we shall immediately roll out a vaccination program that will cover the most vulnerable population, including our frontline workers and senior citizens,” Mayor Olivarez said.

“This is a very significant development in our fight against COVID-19...Hopefully, we shall soon see the end of this deadly pandemic and allow our people to go back to our normal lives," he added. 

According to figures published by the Parañaque City public information office, a total of 8,342 coronavirus infections have been documented in the city, 152 of which are still listed as active cases while 215 others have led to deaths. 

Why does this matter?

The Department of Health for its part maintained on January 4 that only the national government can procure COVID-19 vaccines that will be given emergency use authorization (EUA) by the country’s Food and Drug Administration.

But just three days later, no less than President Rodrigo Duterte approved the rolling out of a tripartite agreement among LGUs, the national government and pharmaceutical firms for the vaccine procurement in recognition of the role of LGUs in the rollout of a national vaccination program to prevent the spread of the virus, according to National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the NTF, said local governments could get COVID-19 vaccines for their constituents only through a tripartite agreement with manufacturers and the national government.

In a statement published early Thursday morning, the Coalition for People's Right to Health cast fear about the lack of a "fully fleshed-out plan [or] any actually approved or available vaccine in the country."

READ: DOH urged to assert definitive vaccine rollout plan, central authority

"The Coalition is cognizant that national elections are soon coming in 2022, and fears the further politicization of health services, persistently seen prior to and even during this pandemic," the coalition said in its statement, urging the DOH and the government's coronavirus task force to also expand the target of vaccinating just 25 million prioritized individuals for 2021 to at least 60% of the population or 66 million people.

— Franco Luna with a report from Gaea Katreena Cabico 

ASTRAZENECA COVID-19 LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PARAñAQUE CITY
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