Davao to get COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 January) – Aside from AstraZeneca, the city government is also negotiating for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), City Health Office COVID-19 focal person Dr. Ashley Lopez revealed.

Lopez said during his program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that City Mayor Sara Duterte is also negotiating to procure initial doses of COVID-19 vaccines from J&J.

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If push comes to shove, he said, the J&J COVID-19 vaccines will arrive by third quarter of this year, around the same time that the AZD1222, the vaccine jointly developed by the British firm and Oxford University, will be delivered to the city.

The health official did not say how many doses the city government is planning to procure from the vaccine makers.

He added that although the delivery of these vaccines is expected in the second half of this year, the frontline health workers who will run the immunization have been trained early on.

He said health care workers of the city attended a two-day training on vaccination program from Thursday to Friday.

“It will take some time but our preparation for the immunization also takes some time,” he said.

He said initial Pfizer-manufactured COVID-19 vaccines from the national government will arrive in the city by the last week of February.

Lopez said the Department of Health-Davao is scheduled to do an ocular inspection this week at the cold storage facility of Zuellig Pharma Corporation to see if it can handle vaccines developed by the US-based Pfizer, which require an ultra-cold temperature of -70°C to maintain their efficacy.

He said the Pfizer vaccines will be administered on the frontline health workers of the Southern Philippines Medical Center who, along with health professionals from private hospitals, are high up on the priority list of the government.

He said the vaccines will not be made available to the public.

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

The Food and Drug Administration announced last January 14 that it granted the application for emergency use authorization of Pfizer-BionTech COVID-19 vaccine. Phase 3 clinical trials showed its vaccines have an efficacy rate of 95%.

As of January 27, the Department of Health-Davao reported 202 new cases, bringing the total to 16,665 with 2,670 active ones, 13,320 recoveries, and 675 deaths.

Of the total, Davao City reported 11,266, with 9,226 recoveries and 533 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 872, Davao del Norte 2,354, Davao del Sur 1,189, Davao Occidental 185, and Davao Oriental 799. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)