Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte yesterday, January 8, bared that the city government of Davao has no budget ceiling for COVID-19 vaccines being planned for purchase for the targeted 1.2 million of the total 1.8 million Dabawenyos once the COVID-19 immunization program rolls out in the city.

Duterte, in her regular Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) program, said she met online with the United Kingdom (UK) manufacturer AstraZeneca on Friday morning, January 8, and both parties look forward to their agreement.

“We already signed the non-disclosure agreement.  Nakakuha nata og commitment na hatagan ta opportunity makapalit og bakuna sa ilaha gamit ang kwarta sa city government of Davao (We got their commitment to give us the opportunity to procure vaccines from them through the city government of Davao funds),” the mayor said.

However, the city won’t be buying the vaccines directly from the manufacturer but through the national government. Hence, the city will purchase the AstraZeneca vaccines via a tripartite agreement with the national government.

Since no vaccine maker can deliver the vaccines that would cover the 1.2 million Dabawenyos, the number, which experts said is needed for the city to achieve herd immunity from the deadly coronavirus, the vaccines will be delivered by tranches or batches from various manufacturers.

“Assuming that with a population of 1.8 million, so 1.2 million kinahanglan mabakunahan. Assuming tag two doses ang vaccines, so 2.4 million vaccines tanan, walay makadeliver ana to any city by any vaccine maker. Atong buhaton makig-istorya ta sa daghan kaayong vaccine makers, especially sa mga dunay intent nga mu apply for EUA or product certification diri sa atoa sa Pilipinas (Assuming that we have a population of 1.8 million, we need to immunize 1.2 million. If each vaccine has two doses, we would need 2.4 million vaccines and no manufacturer can deliver that to any city. We will talk to as many vaccine makers, especially those who have intent to apply for emergency use authorization or product certification in the Philippines),” she explained.

But Duterte reiterated that the city’s immunization program will only augment that of the national government. The city government, according to her,  will only cover what the national government could no longer accommodate.

Among the national government’s priority list are frontline health workers, indigent senior citizens, remaining senior citizens, remaining indigent population, and non-medical frontline workers such as members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, among others.

If the COVID-19 immunization of these five priorities will be shouldered by the national government, the mayor said the city will focus on others needed to be given free vaccination.

She also said that AstraZeneca, so far, is the only manufacturer that is ready to sign contracts with local government units (LGUs). Other vaccine makers opt to just negotiate with the national government’s representative, the Department of Health.

Duterte was scheduled to meet another manufacturer on Friday afternoon, January 8.

“We will be buying all the vaccines that may be sold to us by different vaccine makers,” she said, adding that no company can deliver vaccines in bulk and if one type of vaccine has side effects, not all city residents will be affected as different kinds of vaccines will be used for the city’s immunization program.

The 19th Davao City Council recently passed in first reading the ordinance for the implementation of the COVID-19 immunization program in Davao City. Two public committee hearings are set on January 11 and 14. CIO