City chooses Astra, Covovax

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - March 6, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City has submitted letters of intent to purchase COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Covovax.

“Ato nang gipada sa duha, AstraZeneca and Covovax,” said Mayor Edgardo Labella yesterday.

The city sent the letters after the City Council authorized Labella to do so. Vice Mayor Michael Rama, the city’s vaccine convenor, presides over the Council.

The city chose AstraZeneca and Covovax for their efficacy and cost, as well as storage consideration. AstraZeneca already has an Emergency Use Authorization from the country’s Food and Drug Administration. Covovax’s EUA is still pending.

Labella said this is not the first time that the city communicated with AstraZeneca but this is the first time that it formalized its intent with the Council authorization. Negotiations are being handled by Rama and the city’s vaccine board.

Initially, the city government will use P100 million of its P400 million budget for vaccines.  It will purchase more depending on the progress of the national government’s orders and will add budget when necessary.

The city is also open to purchasing other vaccine brands, but only after these brands can get an EUA.

In an earlier report, Sinovac is among three vaccines the city has considered for its own vaccination program. However, it decided to let go of Pfizer-BioNtech, the first vaccine to be given an EUA in the country, mainly due to storage concerns

Labella said he will have himself vaccinated, as long as it is safe for senior citizens, as soon as the vaccine arrives.

“Ako, magpabakuna gyud ko because this is the one of the ways that we can go back to normal,” Labella said.

He said the city can also hold its own simulation of the vaccination program just like what Lapu-Lapu did.

Based on the March 4, 2021 data from the Department of Health (DOH)-7, Cebu City has 3,316 active cases with 143 more logged that day. — JMO (FREEMAN)

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