DAVAO City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio announced on Monday, January 11, 2021, that the city government has already made progress in its procurement for Covid-19 vaccines.

“Pirmado na tanang contracts nga gipangayo sa atoa sa AstraZeneca. Nahatagan na pud ta og authority gikan sa Sangguniang Panlungsod para mopirma. Gi-submit na nato tanan sa ilaha," Duterte-Carpio said on Monday, January 11, 2021.

(All the necessary contracts that AstraZeneca asked from us have been signed and submitted to them. The Sangguniang Panlungsod has given us the authority to sign the documents.)

But what are the details behind the vaccine of AstraZeneca? Here is #AllYouNeedToKnow about Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca

The Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, also known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and AZD1222, is a viral vector Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom (UK).

According to AstraZeneca, its vaccine "uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the Sars-CoV-2 virus spike protein."

"After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the Sars-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body," the pharmaceutical company said.

According to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, "Viral vector-based vaccines differ from most conventional vaccines in that they don’t actually contain antigens, but rather use the body’s own cells to produce them."

"They do this by using a modified virus (the vector) to deliver genetic code for antigen, in the case of Covid-19 spike proteins found on the surface of the virus, into human cells. By infecting cells and instructing them to make large amounts of antigen, which then trigger an immune response, the vaccine mimics what happens during natural infection with certain pathogens - especially viruses," Gavi explained. The harmless virus delivering the genetic code is called an adenovirus.

This is the same technology being used by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology for Sputnik V. This is also being used by China’s Cansino Biologics, Inc. for their Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen for their JNJ-78436735. All three and AstraZeneca are currently in Phase 3 of their vaccine development.

Safety and efficacy

Based on the interim analysis by Oxford University, which has been peer-reviewed and published in The Lancet on December 8, 2020, Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca "has an acceptable safety profile and has been found to be efficacious against symptomatic Covid-19 in this interim analysis of ongoing clinical trials."

Trials were conducted in Brazil, South Africa and the UK.

"The participants were from diverse racial and geographic groups who are healthy or have stable underlying medical conditions," AstraZeneca said.

In a statement, AstraZeneca said the study showed that the vaccine efficacy of Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca was at 90 percent when given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart. This dosing regimen was given to 2,741 participants.

In another dosing regimen, the vaccine showed 62 percent efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart. This dosing regimen was given to 8,895 participants.

"The combined analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70 percent," AstraZeneca said.

The efficacy of the vaccine was based on the trials of participants from the UK and Brazil.

Meanwhile, safety data showed that Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca "was well tolerated and that there were no serious safety events confirmed related to the vaccine." The safety study was based on trials participated by over 20,000 participants from Brazil, South Africa, and the UK.

"The participants were from diverse racial and geographic groups who are healthy or have stable underlying medical conditions," AstraZeneca said.

According to the study published in The Lancet, the vaccine "is tolerated and that the side-effects are less both in intensity and number in older adults, with lower doses, and after the second dose."

However, researchers of the study also pointed out that "careful monitoring of safety, including neurological events, continues in the trials."

Researchers also said in the interim analysis of Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, they "have not been able to assess duration of protection, since the first trials were initiated in April 2020, such that all disease episodes have accrued within 6 months of the first dose being administered."

The vaccine can be stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

AstraZeneca and Philippines

AstraZeneca's vaccine has become a popular choice among local government units in the Philippines.

As of January 15, 39 local government units have signed agreements with AstraZeneca, National Task Force Against Covid-19, and the Department of Health. Some 300 private companies have also signed a tripartite agreement with AstraZeneca and the government.

Quezon City has the largest purchase order with 1.1 million doses of the Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. Makati City has the second largest order with 1 million doses.

Other LGUs that have signed purchase deals are City of Manila (800,000 doses), Valenzuela City (640,000 doses), Iloilo City (600,000 doses), Caloocan City (600,000 doses), Zamboanga City (410,000 doses), Pasig City (400,000 doses), Baguio City (380,000 doses), Las Piñas City (300,000 doses), Ormoc City (270,000 doses), Parañaque City (200,000 doses), Ilocos Norte (120,000 doses), Oroquieta City (120,000 doses), Vigan City (100,000 to 120,000 doses), Navotas City (100,000 doses), Muntinlupa City (100,000 doses), Bacolod City (P300 million), Mandaluyong City (P200 million), San Juan City (P50 million), Taal City (40,000 doses),

Davao City (no available data), Taguig City (no available data), and Pasay City (no available data).

On January 15, Island Garden City of Samal Mayor Al David Uy said the city government will sign an agreement with AstraZeneca for the procurement of around 50,000 to 60,000 doses.

General Santos City is also working on its agreement with the pharmaceutical company to secure vaccines. Mayor Ronnel Rivera said that based on the proposed deal with AstraZeneca, it may be getting around 330,000 doses.

On January 14, 2020, AstraZeneca, the business community, and LGUs had a ceremonial signing for the procurement of 17 million doses, including the first vaccine deal of 2.6 million doses in November 2020, of the Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

"We are delighted to conclude 17 million doses, which can reach millions of Filipinos through the close collaboration between AstraZeneca, the Philippine government, local government units, and private sector donors,” Lotis Ramin, AstraZeneca Philippines country director, said during the signing ceremony.

At present, AstraZeneca's application for the emergency use authorization of the Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is now pending with the Food and Drug Administration.

The Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is expected to arrive in the Philippines around the second half of 2020.

Davao City

Duterte-Carpio, meanwhile, said AstraZeneca has informed the city government that their vaccine could arrive around the third quarter this year.

AstraZeneca is the first vaccine manufacturer that the city government has entered a deal with for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.

Duterte-Carpio said they have informed AstraZeneca in October 2020 of their intent to procure Covid-19 vaccines.

"As early as October nagsulat na ta sa ilaha na dunay ta'y interest nga mupalit og bakuna sa ilaha. They were aware of that intent since October (They were aware of our intent to purchase vaccines from them since October last year after we reached out to them)," the mayor said.

However, compared to the other LGUs that are getting doses of vaccines from AstraZeneca, the mayor said the number of doses the city is getting from the company is not that many.

"Katong order nato with AstraZeneca, gamay ra kaayo to compared sa makit-an nimo sa orders sa ubang LGUs (Our orders from AstraZeneca, is quite small compared to the other LGUs that ordered from them)," she said.

Hence, the city will be multi-sourcing its Covid-19 vaccines to be able to vaccinate its target of some 1.2 million residents of Davao City.

She said at present, no Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer could immediately meet the needed doses of vaccines. This is due to the high demand but limited supply of Covid-19 vaccines nationwide.

Therefore, the need for the city to procure vaccine from other pharmaceutical companies. Last week, the mayor said they are in talks with another company.

Multi-sourcing will also allow the city to lower the risk of having a large group of the population experiencing adverse side-effects from a vaccine.

"Tungod kay kining vaccine bag-o, wala ta kabalo unsa side effects niya... We were thinking, dili tanan apektado sa complications sa isa ka bakuna (The vaccines are new and we do not know much about its side effects yet. We were thinking that we do not want everyone experiencing complications from a single vaccine)," she said.

As to the budget, the mayor said there will be no limit to how much the city can spend for the vaccine, as long as it will meet its target number of individuals that need to be vaccinated.

Global scene

Towards the end of 2020, AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine was approved for emergency supply in the United Kingdom.

Argentina's National Administrator for Food and Medical Technology also approved the vaccine for emergency use around the end of December 2020. The South American nation will buy 22.4 million doses of the Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, according to reports by Reuters.

It has also been granted emergency use in India, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, and Morocco for the active immunization of adults.