Mayor: Cebu City residents can choose COVID-19 vaccine brand

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Cebu City (CNN Philippines, January 13) - Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella wants residents to have the option on what brand of coronavirus vaccine they want to be injected with.

Labella on Wednesday said he will create a 'Vaccine Board' that would determine those who are willing to receive vaccines from China, or wait for other brands from other countries.

"We will give them the opportunity to choose because after all, these are people's money, taxpayers' money. That is why I do not agree with those who said we cannot choose," he said in a press conference.

"If there is a way that we can choose where you are comfortable, then so be it. They should be given the chance," Labella added.

The board will include health experts like the City Health Office chief and local epidemiology experts.

The mayor said he already raised the matter to Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez on Tuesday.

Cebu City has allocated ₱400 million to procure vaccines for its residents.

The national government has already secured 25 million doses from China's Sinovac, with an initial 50,000 expected to be available next month. However, critics have raised concerns as Sinovac only has 50% efficacy compared to the other brands.

Labella earlier said Cebu City is eyeing to close a deal with either Pfizer or Moderna.

Pfizer boasts a 95% efficacy rate while Moderna has 94.5% efficacy rate.

Labella said Cebu City is capable of storing Pfizer and other deep-freeze vaccines because of the Cebu facilities of FE Zuellig -- an affiliate of Pfizer. The Zuellig facilities can store the vaccine at -70 degrees Celsius.