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LGUs Lean Toward AstraZeneca Vaccine as DOH Pushes Sinovac

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Philippine local governments led by Metro Manila cities are racing to secure COVID-19 vaccines while awaiting the national immunzation rollout. While most have already set aside budgets, some have moved on to the next step of sealing deals with vaccine manufacturers to ensure that their constituents get the jab.

All vaccine purchases must be coursed through the national government. According to the Department of Health, while local government units are barred from purchasing vaccines directly, they can allocate funds for procurement while the shots are pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

These cities have signed deals for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines:

City of Manila

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno closed a closed a deal for the acquisition of 800,000 vaccines under a tripartite agreement with the National Task Force for COVID-19, the DOH and Britain's AstraZeneca.

A total of P250 million has been set aside to fund the purchase of jabs for Manila residents. 

Online registration for vaccines has started, with guidelines available on the city's website.

Makati City

Makati Mayor Abby Binay said the city government was finalizing a deal to purchase one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In a Twitter post, Binay said this would cover Makati residents as well as non-resident property and business owners in the city.

Binay earlier said the city allocated P1 billion to ensure that every resident can get the vaccine for free. An online registration system will also be in place.

Pasig City

In a Twitter post, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto said that the city signed an agreement with the national government and AstraZeneca for the advance purchase of COVID-19 vaccines worth P100 million.

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"Actual quantity and date of delivery will depend on several factors. We'll buy from others too as opportunities arise," Sotto added.

Around P300 million from Pasig City's budget will be used for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines. This will be used on top of vaccines provided by the national government, if there are any.

San Juan City

San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora on Sunday signed a tripartite agreement with the national government and AstraZeneca to provide San Juan City with vaccines at the earliest possible time.

San Juan City's residents can now register for the vaccine online. Zamora said in an interview that the city earmarked P50 million for the purchase of vaccines in their 2021 budget.

"If the P50 million allocation is not enough, the city government, through our City Council, is ready to add more funds so that all our constituents who wish to get the vaccine may get it from the San Juan City LGU for free," he added.

Caloocan City

Caloocan City also signed a deal with AstraZeneca for the advance purchase of vaccines. The city would buy no less than 600,000 doses.

"Nakikipag-ugnayan tayo sa mga pharmaceutical company upang matiyak na makakakuha tayo ng bakuna pag ito ay aprubado na ng Inter-Agency Task Force at Food and Drug Administration," Caloocan Mayor Oca Malapitan said in a Facebook post.

In a separate post, he said the city was prepared to innoculate residents with a P125-million budget.

Valenzuela City

Valenzuela City signed a deal with AstraZeneca for the advance purchase of 640,000 vaccine doses.

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In a thread posted on the official Valenzuela City Twitter account, it was stated that 320,000 individuals will be covered. This number is 70% of the city's target population. Those below 18 years old are exlcuded.

The vaccines are projected to arrive in the second half of 2021.

Mayor Rex Gatchalian said that Valenzuela City allotted P150 million to procure vaccines for its residents.

Navotas City

Navotas City sealed a deal with AstraZeneca to purchase 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

"Dahil dalawang dose po ang kailangan ng bawat tao, 50,000 Navoteño po ang unang mabibigyan natin ng bakuna na inaasahan nating dadating sa second half ng 2021," Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco said in Facebook post.

Navotas City set aside an initial P20 million to purchase vaccines for its residents. This budget could still increase depending on the needs of its residents and on how much the national government can provide, Tiangco said.

Vigan City

Among the first non-Metro Manila cities who ordered their own COVID-19 vaccine supply is Vigan City government, Mayor Carlo Medina confirmed in a statement. 

On Sunday, the Ilocos Sur town secured 100,000 to 120,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University.

“We ordered doses enough to vaccinate all residents of Vigan City, aged 18 years old and above,” Mayor Medina said. 

Iloilo City

The city of Iloilo also announced on Sunday that they have purchased 600,000 doses for 300,000 Iloilo residents from AstraZeneca

Mayor Jerry Treñas said a multilateral agreement was signed, made possible by the national government's approval. 

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Baguio City

Popular tourist hub Baguio City announced on Monday it also entered into a deal with AstraZeneca, securing doses of vaccine that could benefit 190,000 residents or 70 percent of the city's target population for inoculation. 

Mayor Benjamin Magalong, along with city councils, promised they will allocate 100 million pesos for the city's immunication program, the statement said. 

Davao City

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio announced in local radio on Monday they have also secured a deal with AstraZeneca. According to her, the drugmaker promised to deliver their acquired supply "by third quarter this year."

The local government said it plans to immunize 1.2 million residents of the city which is 70 percent of the city's population in order to achieve herd immunity.

This story originally appeared on Reportr.world. Minor edits have been made by Esquiremag.ph editors.

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