CEBU CITY—City residents can pick the brand of coronavirus vaccine they want to be injected with from among those that the local government will purchase, or be provided by the national government.
“We will give them (people) the opportunity to choose because after all, these are people’s money, taxpayer money,” Mayor Edgardo Labella said in an online interview.
This was the reason Labella did not agree with those in the government who said the public could not choose their vaccine brand.
“If there is a way that we can choose a vaccine that you are comfortable with, then so be it. They should be given the chance,” he said.
Cebu City has an allocation of the Sinovac vaccine that the national government has decided to buy, but Labella said he was also aware that many residents were not comfortable with the China-made product after it was reported not as effective against Covid-19 as other brands.
The city government also intends to buy vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, both American pharmaceutical companies, using the P400 million initially allotted for the free inoculation program. An additional P100 million is being readied in case the initial allocation would not be enough, Labella said.
“One factor that will be considered is a vaccine’s efficacy rate,” he said.
The national government has already secured 25 million doses from Sinovac with an initial 50,000 expected to be available next month. Critics have raised concerns since Sinovac has only 50-percent efficacy.
Labella earlier created a “vaccine board” to map out the city’s vaccination program and to identify those willing to receive vaccines from China, or wait for brands from other countries.
The board is composed of Dr. Jeffrey Ibones, the officer in charge of the city health’s office; infectious disease specialist Dr. Bryan Lim, a representative of the Philippine College of Physicians; and Dr. Junjie Zuasula, head of the Department of Health’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit.
Labella said vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. had told him that Sinovac would be the immediate available COVID-19 vaccine in the country. Vaccines from western countries, he said, might be delivered in June.
The mayor said their target would be to immunize for free at least 70 percent of the city’s 922,611 population. INQ
For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
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.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.