The Taguig City government has signed a deal with biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine.
Mayor Lino Edgardo Cayetano said the local government inked a deal with the British drug supplier and is also in talks with other drug suppliers for the procurement of the vaccines.
But he clarified that they are expecting the first delivery from the national government and the local government procurement will only serve to complement the national government supply.
“The national government’s allotment will come first. We expect it during the first quarter but that will be for medical frontliners and the vulnerable sectors so we have already been preparing our vaccination sites and vaccination protocols,” said Cayetano.
“We want however all Taguigeños to have access to the COVID vaccine. All LGU procurement of vaccines, we are told will come after the national government allotment and that will be sometime during the last quarter of 2021,” he said.
The city chief executive explained that health experts agree that immunizing people is key to ending this pandemic soonest.
“So far, we have ensured that our testing, disease surveillance, and treatment services meet the highest standards. We certainly plan to continue leading as we approach the homestretch,” he said.
Taguig currently has 43 active cases and consistently holds the lowest active cases per 100,000 population in Metro Manila with only 4 active cases. The city is also among the lowest case fatalities at 1.58 percent.
However, as of January 10, Metro Manila has 2,650 active cases based on the data released by LGUs on their social media pages and websites. This is equivalent to 18 active cases per 100k population. The case fatality rate is currently at 2.93 percent.
Mayor Cayetano reminded his constituents that Metro Manila should be viewed as one mega city because while there is freedom of movement, “we need to be prepared for cases to rise as the overall numbers in Metro Manila is still high. From testing to treatment to vaccination, all Metro Manila cities have to continue working together.”
On January 5, Taguig City announced a P13.5-billion recovery fund for 2021, with P1 billion earmarked for free vaccines conducted citywide.
Cayetano shared that the city had been planning for vaccination since September last year.
The AstraZeneca deal Taguig City has entered has the approval of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 and the Department of Health.
Aside from AstraZeneca preorder, the city is in talks with other companies.
“Following the advice of our scientists and experts we are looking at all available options and continue to be aggressive in our preparation and research into other vaccines and new technologies to help end COVID-19,” said Cayetano.
He said there have been concerns about the complications in transporting and storing the vaccines but Taguig is ready.
“We have one of the best public immunization programs in the country and the DOH has cited Taguig in the past years for this,” he added.
Although AstraZeneca vaccine requires refrigeration temperature like most current vaccines, Taguig is also working on a rollout plan for Vaccines that need sub zero temperatures like Pfizers’ BNT162b2.
“This is why we prepared for several vaccines, we want to be ready to execute based on what it’s immediately available” the goals in vaccination remains to be able to inoculate all Taguigeños safely and immediately. We are constantly working on these to goals. Safety and speed and working closely with the national government is key,” Mayor Cayetano said.