Baguio to allocate P100 million for anti-COVID vaccine

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The city government plans to allocate some P100 million from its resources to procure vaccine against the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) that is expected to be available in the country by the third or fourth quarter of this year to achieve the so-called herd immunity.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong stated he will sign the required confidentiality disclosure agreement with a pharmaceutical company that will supply the vaccines in the city to facilitate the signing of the tripartite agreement among the city government, the company and the national government through the national vaccine committee.

Aside from the more than 200,000 doses of the vaccine aimed to be procured by the city, he added that a global company also committed to him a donation of some 10,000 does of anti-COVID vaccine while efforts are being done to reach out to the city’s business sector to donate 50 percent of their required vaccine among their workers for the city’s mass vaccination campaign.

The city chief executive tasked the members of the city’s Local Finance Committee to source out the required funds to procure the vaccine because officials were already informed that city governments should augment the limited funds of the national government for the vaccine for the majority of the Filipino people, especially those in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

Magalong claimed there will be more than enough vaccine for the city residents because the national vaccine committee will also provide the supply of vaccines as Baguio city has been included by the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases as one of the priority areas where the mass vaccination will be conducted being a highly urbanized city and populated area.

However, the mayor explained that part of the conditions of the agreement is for the local government to place a 20 percent reservation fee to the supplier to ensure the availability of the vaccine to support the government’s aggressive mass vaccination campaign and help stabilise the situation not only in the city but also in the whole country.

According to him, part of the city’s readiness for the vaccine is the procurement of a number of freezers to preserve the vaccine as the cold storage facilities had already been shipped from China recently.

He revealed that the freezers that can keep the temperature from negative 2 to negative, negative 20 to negative 40 and negative 40 to negative 70 degrees Celsius, are expected to arrive in the city by the first week of February.

He emphasized that the priority sectors to be vaccinated will be those frontliners that are directly dealing with COVID patients, elderly with co-morbidities, health workers, uniformed personnel, among others, to ensure they will be spared from contracting the virus.

By Dexter A. See