MANILA, Philippines — In line with the city government’s COVID-19 mass vaccination roadmap, Mayor Isko Moreno yesterday authorized the release of P38.4 million from the city’s coffers as a 20 percent advance payment for 800,000 doses of British drug firm AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
Domagoso said that at two doses per person, it would be enough to inoculate 400,000 people. He noted that while it was just a fraction of Manila’s population, it is a good start.
“Fortunately, the national government allowed local government units (LGUs) to fast-track the procurement process,” he said.
The procurement law only allows advance payment of a maximum of 15 percent of the cost of government-financed projects. Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado called for this limit to be eased earlier this month.
President Duterte has signed a memorandum order increasing the limit for advance payments for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.
“The vaccines are coming but we can’t let ourselves be complacent,” Moreno said as he urged residents to keep practicing health protocols mandated by the Department of Health and for frontliners to keep refining mass vaccination simulation exercises.
Last month, Manila was the first LGU to enter into a tripartite agreement with AstraZeneca and the National Task Force against COVID-19 for the procurement of the vaccines. At least 300 firms and more than 30 LGUs have since followed suit.
The city government has set up a website, manilacovid19vaccine.com, where people can pre-register to receive the vaccine. As of Feb. 18, over 88,000 people have signed up.
The city-run Sta. Ana Hospital is host to the Manila COVID-19 Vaccine Storage Facility and is equipped with a wide range of biomedical freezers to store all vaccine brands available, officials said.
To address the problem of low vaccine confidence, Moreno said he is willing to be the first person in Manila to be given the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Hopefully, the example that I set will convince them to get vaccinated, too,” he said.