MMDA chief suggests using AstraZeneca doses procured by LGUs as booster shots
MANILA, Philippines — Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos on Wednesday proposed the utilization of AstraZeneca shots bought by local government units (LGUs) as booster doses for medical frontliners and senior citizens.
Abalos made the suggestion as he noted that around 87% of qualified residents in Metro Manila have already received at least a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Citing data, Abalos said that of the 9.8 million eligible COVID-19 vaccine recipients in the nation’s capital region, 6.6 million were already fully vaccinated.
This also comes amid a pending recommendation of the government’s vaccine expert panel (VEP) to allow booster shots for medical frontliners and immunocompromised individuals before the Interagency Taskforce for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
According to Abalos, most LGUs in Metro Manila have signed tripartite agreements with AstraZeneca and the national government to procure COVID-19 vaccine doses. Should IATF give a green light to the recommendation of the vaccine expert panel, Abalos suggested that those LGU-purchased AstraZeneca shots be used for it.
“I voiced this out because most of the LGUs have already ordered for AstraZeneca, the tripartite if you would recall,” Abalos said in a Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum.
However, he stressed: “The first thing that they should do is try if they can combine Astra[Zeneca] with Sinovac because Sinovac is the most widely used vaccine in the country.”
Abalos also said they have “almost mapped out those that we would like to vaccinate” so if the AstraZeneca doses arrive “we could use at least to boost at least our senior citizens, the frontliners.”
“That’s why we are calling for this, sana mabilisan po ito (I hope this gets fast-tracked),” continued Abalos, referring to the delivery of AstraZeneca shots that LGUs ordered.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.