Zamboanga City secures 410,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine

(MindaNews/ 16 January) — Zamboanga City has signed a multilateral agreement with AstraZeneca to procure 410,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco announced earlier this week.

Dr. Dulce Amor Miravite, Zamboanga City Health Officer, told MindaNews that 205,000 residents out of the city’s projected 2021 population of population of 992,423 can be covered by the 410,000 vaccines as vaccination requires two doses per person, administered weeks apart.

Miravite siad the city aims to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the population or 694,696 to obtain herd immunity. She said the city government met with other vaccine companies such as Johnson & Johnson on Monday to secure more vaccines for the rest of the population.

Based on IATF guidelines, medical frontliners, senior citizens, and indigents are the priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination. Miravite stated that the 300,000 of Zamboanga City residents consist of this group.

The city government had earlier allocated 200 million pesos for procurement of vaccines —  100 million for AstraZeneca vaccines and the remaining 100 million to purchase other vaccine brands.

The city’s acquisition of vaccines is a part of a broader national effort led by National Inter-Agency Task Force Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, who is President Duterte’s focal person for the procurement of vaccines.

On December 10, Galvez, also referred to as “vaccine czar,” told the online forum of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, an umbrella organization of all leagues of local government units (LGUs) and elected local government officials, that Zamboanga City will be among the priority areas for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

He named the priority areas – those which recorded a high number of cases — as Metro Manila, Calabarzon and the cities of Baguio, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo and Tacloban. In Mindanao, Galvez said the priority areas are the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Davao, General Santos and Zamboanga.

“Pag cities ang inuna natin, more than 80% of our economy will recover. We will prioritize first ‘yung mga mostly affected area,” ABS-CBN News quoted Galvez as saying.

He noted that areas with cold chain facilities will likely receive the vaccine from Pfizer, while vaccines from AstraZeneca and Sinovac will be for provinces without such a facility and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAS).

According to the Department of Health – Zamboanga Peninsula region,  as of January 14, Zamboanga City recorded 3,785, out of which 147 are active, 3,463 are recoveries and 177 are deaths. (Razel Suansing / MindaNews intern)