Quezon City secures 750k doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 6) — Quezon City has sealed a deal with British drugmaker AstraZeneca for 750,000 doses of its COVID-19 jab, Mayor Joy Belmonte said Wednesday, in what is the first known supply agreement secured by a local government.

With two doses needed for a vaccine to be effective, 375,000 Quezon City residents stand to benefit from the AstraZeneca supply.

“This figure is the maximum that could be allocated to us at present,” Belmonte told CNN Philippines in a text message, referring to the 750,000 doses.

The local government earlier said it has earmarked an initial ₱1 billion in its 2021 budget for the vaccination of its constituents. Belmonte said this may still be augmented should the need arise.

The Department of Health tracker showed Quezon City has logged the highest number of COVID-19 cases among cities and provinces nationwide. Based on the local health department data, the city has confirmed 28,285 infections as of January 5, including 768 deaths and 26,370 recoveries.

In the local immunization program, priority will be given to the city's 10,000 health workers, 300,000 senior citizens, 20,000 adults with disabilities, and other vulnerable sectors as recommended by the World Health Organization.

Belmonte thanked the city council for the swift approval of the resolution authorizing her to enter into a tripartite agreement with Astrazeneca and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 for the advance purchase.

The head of the city's COVID-19 task force Joseph Juico on Monday assured the public the vaccines will undergo the proper process and documentation, including approval from the Food and Drugs Administration for emergency use authorization. The local government also said it is in the process of reviewing and finalizing the database of residents included in the priority list.

AstraZeneca is offering its vaccine at $10 or almost ₱500 per dose, making it the easiest and cheapest purchase among vaccine candidates being considered by the Philippines.

Through a private sector donation, the national government separately secured an initial 2.6 million doses from AstraZeneca, which are expected to be delivered in May. Half of the purchase will go to the government, while the other half will be administered to employees of businesses that pitched in. Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion also said there will be a second batch of orders for another 3.7 million shots.

Deal allows LGUs to buy own COVID-19 vaccines

President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed local governments to enter into tripartite agreements with the national government and vaccine manufacturers so they can purchase COVID-19 vaccines in advance, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. said Wednesday.

"We recommended the approval of tripartite agreement. The President approved it immediately," Galvez said in a briefing.

This was after a number of local governments set aside varying amounts to buy doses for their constituents.