The city government has allocated an initial PHP200 million for the purchase of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines and the rollout of its vaccination program.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said on Friday afternoon the allocation was endorsed by members of the City Inter-Agency Task Force (CIATF) for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases in a previous meeting.
Rivera said the local government is exploring its options and evaluating possible suppliers of the vaccines, specifically those that would be approved by the Department of Health through the Food and Drug Administration.
“We will utilize the vaccines that will be permitted by the government,” he told reporters.
Rivera said the budget would be drawn from the trust fund of the local disaster risk reduction and management office.
He noted that about PHP10 million has been set aside for the storage and other logistical requirements of the Covid-19 vaccines.
The other expected expenses are the transport of the vaccines from the source to the city and the purchase of necessary medical supplies and equipment, he added.
Rivera said the local government has decided to purchase its own vaccine despite earlier assurance from chief implementer of the country’s National Policy Against Covid-19, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., that the city would be included in the pilot areas for the vaccination program.
“We want to make sure that we will have available vaccines later on for our constituents,” he said.
Rivera said the CIATF, through the City Health Office, is drawing up the mechanisms for the vaccination program, which it aims to provide to residents for free.
He said they would target a substantial portion of the city’s population to eventually achieve “herd immunity” against the disease. (PNA)