Local governments choose AstraZeneca shots
MANILA, Philippines — AstraZeneca has become the preferred vaccine among local governments, particularly in Metro Manila, which have placed orders from the UK pharmaceutical company, even as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressed concern about the inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in favor of richer local governments.
Makati City has signed a tripartite agreement with the national government and AstraZeneca to secure a million doses of the vaccine, and has allocated P1 billion for the purchase.
“We intend to vaccinate all Makatizens, including real property owners, business owners and nonregistered voters who reside in the city. We want them to be safe from the virus, and we are aiming for 100 percent vaccination in the city,” Mayor Abby Binay said.
She urged residents to avail themselves of free vaccination, saying that the city government would launch an online registration portal in the coming weeks.
Valenzuela City on Sunday announced its own deal with AstraZeneca for 640,000 doses covering 320,000 residents.
Caloocan Mayor Oscar Malapitan said he had signed an agreement for the purchase of at least 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for 35 percent of the city’s adult population.
Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco said the city had ordered 100,000 doses from AstraZeneca.
Pasig City has secured 400,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine valued at some P100 million, Mayor Vico Sotto announced on Monday.
The vaccines would be given to 200,000 residents, he said.
San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said he had signed an agreement with AstraZeneca for an initial 100,000 doses for 50,000 residents.
“AstraZeneca is a trusted institution that partnered with Oxford University in the United Kingdom to come up with an effective vaccine to finally put this pandemic behind us,” Zamora said.
Las Piñas Mayor Imelda Aguilar said the city had allocated P200 million for the procurement of 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Muntinlupa City has raised P170 million to acquire 100,000 doses of the vaccine, said its mayor, Jaime Fresnedi.
Taguig City has signed a deal with AstraZeneca but is also negotiating with other vaccine suppliers, said Mayor Lino Cayetano.
In Manila, Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said the city government would soon acquire 12 refrigerators and 50 transport coolers for the storage of AstraZeneca and other vaccines.
Amid these preparations among local governments, FDA Director General Eric Domingo raised concern over the inequitable distribution of vaccines “and the prioritization [on who should be vaccinated first] is meant to address this.”
Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, reminded local officials that it was the policy of vaccine manufacturers “to deal only with national governments.”
—Reports from Jodee A. Agoncillo, Krixia Subingsubing, Meg Adonis and Dona Z. Pazzibugan