Onion farmers’ facility tapped for vaccine storage in Ecija
PALAYAN CITY—City officials will use a cold storage facility operated by an onion farmers’ group to keep vaccines against the coronavirus disease for residents.
“The vaccines will be delivered directly to the cold storage facility. We have to prepare other things like ice boxes and dry ice,” Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas told the Inquirer on Sunday.
The refrigerated warehouse is being operated by the Katipunan ng mga Magsisibuyas ng Nueva Ecija.
Cuevas said the city had also asked British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca for an advance order of its vaccines worth P50 million.
The provincial government would purchase 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to cover 150,000 residents, according to Gov. Aurelio Umali.
In Pampanga province, Gov. Dennis Pineda has formed a medical team to study which vaccine to purchase. Some P300 million is needed for the inoculation program.
In Pangasinan province, the Bayambang municipal government has realigned its school board fund to raise P8 million for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.
Subject to availability
If the amount would not be enough, Mayor Cezar Quiambao said the local council was ready to tap P55 million intended for capital outlay.
Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara said he and other governors were just “waiting for clear-cut vaccination guidelines from the national government so that we can make our own vaccination procedure based on the given protocols.”
“The funds are ready, we are open to the sharing scheme proposed by other [local governments],” Bichara said on Monday.
In the capital Legazpi, Mayor Noel Rosal announced on Monday that the city had set aside P150 million of its P500-million budget to reserve vaccines from manufacturers in the United Kingdom and in Russia. Some 150,000 doses were needed to cover 136,000 city residents.
Rosal said he could order from the controversial CoronaVac, the vaccine manufactured by the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, explaining that “the issue lies not on the matter of choice but on the subject of availability.”In the race to secure vaccines, poorer local governments may have to wait longer.
Wilfredo Maronilla, mayor of Libon town and the president of the Albay League of Mayors, said the city governments would have to rely on the national government for vaccine procurement.Major tourism players like Puerto Princesa City in Palawan province have been closing their own purchase deals to enable them to rebound from their economic losses due to the pandemic.
The city has signed an agreement to buy 200,000 doses of vaccines from AstraZeneca, said Mayor Lucilo Bayron. Delivery is expected on the second quarter of this year.
Puerto Galera town in Oriental Mindoro province has allotted P50 million for vaccines, said Mayor Rockey Ilagan.
In Calapan City, Mayor Arnan Panaligan said some P25 million might be spent “for the procurement of affordable, approved and safe vaccines from qualified manufacturers,” to inoculate some 50,000 residents. —REPORTS FROM ARMAND GALANG, TONETTE OREJAS, YOLANDA SOTELO, MAR S. ARGUELLES, MADONNA VIROLA AND ROMAR MIRANDA INQ
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