Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Covid vaccines coming soon!

‘Beng signs deal with AstraZeneca’

CHIEF COVID frontliner Mayor Beng Climaco has signed a $2 million (or roughly P100 million) deal with British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for the purchase of 410,000 doses of Covid vaccines.

She said the vaccines are good for some 205,000 residents, but there is at least P100 million more for the acquisition of additional vaccines from other pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson. 

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have also their own Covid vaccines and so are Russia with its Sputnik and China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm. 

Climaco, head of the local task force on Covid-19, signed the agreement with AstraZeneca based on the approved authorization of the City Council. The local government’s vaccination program will cover 694,696 residents or 70% of the projected 2021 population of 992,423 inhabitants. 

The initial P200 million for the purchase of the vaccines are included in the P4.38-billion 2021 Executive Budget of the local government, according to Climaco, who is also a member of the Committee on Vaccine Availment of the League of Cities of the Philippines.

She said the local government has been closely coordinating with the national government and the Department of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, including vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, for the purchase of the Covid-19 vaccines.

The United Kingdom became the first country to approve AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use on December 30, just weeks after Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccine candidates received a green light from the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, according to health portal

It said the approval is another promising sign in the global immunization rollout—especially because this option, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, could be key to reaching people in rural and underfunded areas. Unlike its competitors, the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine can be stored at higher temperatures, costs less per dose, and uses different technology to immunize people.

Zamboanga resident, Farsha Live, wrote a message on Climaco’s Facebook account and said: “Maraming-maraming salamat po Madam Beng sa pag malasakit mo po sa taong-bayan ng Zamboanga City. Iyong hindi maniwala sa bakuna huwag na lang po kayong magpabakuna. Ang mahalaga mahal na mahal ni Madam Beng ang taong-bayan ng Zamboanga City.”

With nearly 1 million population, Zamboanga City, the gateway to the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi is one of the national government’s priorities in the vaccination program.

Climaco passed the proposed budget in September last year after months of careful studies to ensure the welfare of the people amid the deadly pandemic. But it was only approved in December after opposition councilors “altered” the budget, she said.

She said the opposition councilors “killed” the Largo Vida Program, an initiative that she started in 2018 and which she intends to expand to over 60,000 beneficiaries this year. 

“It is with deep regret that (opposition) majority of the members of the City Council resolutely removed vital appropriations in the FY (Fiscal Year) 2021 Executive Budget of the City Government of Zamboanga. Very important social services programs such as the Largo Vida, Salva Vida and Cuida Vida, which could have benefited senior citizens, low income families, disadvantaged communities, marginalized sectors, most affected families of the COVID-19 pandemic and other vulnerable members of society, were unfoundedly scrapped,” Climaco said.

She identified the opposition councilors as Monsi dela Cruz, John Dalipe, BG Guingona, Mike Alavar, Litlit Macrohon, Khymer Olaso, Lilibeth Nuño, Cary John Pioc, VP Elago, Gerky Valesco and Jerry Perez – all political allies (except Dela Cruz and Dalipe who are allies of Rep. Mannix Dalipe) of former Congressman Celso Lobregat whom she defeated in 2019 election.  (Zamboanga Post)

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