GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 09 Jan) — The city government has allotted an initial 200 million pesos for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.
Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the allocation was endorsed by members of the City Inter-Agency Task Force (CIATF) for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases in a meeting early this week.
He said the local government is currently exploring its options and evaluating possible suppliers of the vaccines, specifically those that will 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,” the mayor told reporters on Friday afternoon.
Rivera said the funds will be drawn from the trust fund of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund.
He said around 10 million pesos was 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 said.
The mayor said the local government decided to purchase its own vaccines despite earlier assurance from National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., that the city will 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 currently drawing up the mechanisms for the vaccination program, which it aims to provide to residents for free.
He said they will target a substantial portion of the city’s population to eventually achieve “herd immunity” against the disease. (Richelyn Gubalani / MindaNews contributor)