AstraZeneca to supply COVID-19 vaccines to Davao

Laboratory personnel read Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test results inside one of the laboratories of the Philippine Genome Center – Mindanao (PGC-Mindanao) in the University of the Philippines Mindanao in Davao City on 22 May 2020. The PGC-Mindanao is training personnel who will soon be fielded to Covid-19 PCR test laboratories. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 8 January) – Vaccine maker AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (Philippines) Inc. has committed to deliver initial doses of its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines to the city government of Davao by the third quarter of this year, Mayor Sara Duterte said on Friday.

During her live program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Duterte said she had already signed a non-disclosure agreement with the company on Thursday and met with its executives the following day.

She said the local government will procure the AZD1222, the vaccine jointly developed by the British firm in collaboration with Oxford University, through the national government.

She added the vaccines will be delivered in tranches since AstraZeneca could not supply it in bulk.

She said the local government targets to inoculate 1.2 million to achieve herd immunity.

The discussion between Duterte and AstraZeneca took place a day after the city council approved an ordinance granting the mayor the authority to begin negotiations with the company for a supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

Duterte said the local government pursued discussions with the British drug maker since it was the only firm ready to sign a contract with any local government unit.

But she added that the city will also negotiate with other companies for additional supply of vaccines.

She said she is set to meet with another vaccine maker also on Friday.

She said the city’s supply of vaccines will augment the nationwide vaccination program, targeting individuals who are not in the priority list of the national government.

The national government will give priority to frontline health workers, indigent senior citizens, remaining senior citizens, remaining indigent population, and uniformed personnel.

She said the local government did not set a ceiling on the budget for vaccines since it will also negotiate for more supply from other pharmaceutical firms.

“What we will do, we will talk to as many vaccine makers as possible, especially those who have the intent to apply for EUA (emergency use authorization) or certificate of product registration in the Philippines, and ask them if they can deliver to us this number of doses and if they say yes, then, we will start the process of contracting with them,” she said.

Duterte assured the local government will procure available vaccines from different manufacturers.

As of January 7, the Department of Health-Davao Region recorded 13,321 total COVID-19 cases, with 1,707 active ones, 11,064 recoveries, and 550 deaths.

Of the total cases, Davao City reported 9,325, Davao de Oro 618, Davao del Norte 1,684, Davao del Sur 990, Davao Occidental 131, and Davao Oriental 573. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)