ASIDE from AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Inc., the Davao City Government is also negotiating with Janssen Pharmaceuticals (Johnson & Johnson) for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, the city's Covid-19 focal person, Dr. Ashley Lopez, confirmed.
In a radio interview on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, Lopez said the city is also in talks with Janssen for the possible procurement of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine.
"Ako nahibaw-an katong gipa-reserve sa atong mayor (Sara Duterte-Carpio), katong AstraZeneca and J&J... Johnson & Johnson nga brand (Based on the initial information I received, the mayor will be reserving for cold chain storage vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson)," the health official said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.
Lopez said just like AstraZeneca, vaccines from Janssen are expected to arrive by third quarter of this year.
The health official said this is on top of the Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccines that the city will be receiving from the National Government.
Initial doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in late February this year.
Medical frontliners, especially working at the Southern Philippines Medical Center, will be prioritized for the Pfizer vaccine.
Lopez said that at present, the City Government is looking for a cold chain storage facility for the vaccines.
He said they are scouting for a separate cold storage area for Pfizer-BioNTech, which requires a -70 degree Celsius storage temperature.
Lopez admitted that the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao and the City Health Office do not have a storage area with the temperature required for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. But the National Government is under negotiation with several logistics and cold storage facilities that have the facilities and extensive experience to handle the vaccine, including Zuellig Pharma Corporation.
Lopez said Zuellig has a branch in Davao City.
He said he already talked to DOH-Davao Director Annabelle Yumang and they are arranging their schedule for ocular inspection in one of Zuellig's facilities in the city.
As of Wednesday, January 27, only AstraZeneca has a signed agreement with the city and national government for the procurement of vaccines.
Meanwhile, Lopez said the city is already preparing for the immunization.
"Although ato preparation sa immunization is dili pud basta-basta. It will take time sa preparation pa lang. More or less, mahinay-hinayan nato og hapsay ang proseso sa pagbakuna (The preparation for immunization is no easy task. It will take time. What we have to do is iron out the procedure and implementation of the vaccination program)," the official said.
He said they are still planning on how and where the vaccines will be rolled out once these arrive.
Lopez said they are also preparing to attend to those who may experience side effects from the vaccines.
The Davao City Vaccination Program, which provides the guidelines and policies on vaccine inoculation in the city, has been passed under second reading.
Duterte-Carpio earlier announced that the city will also be scheduling an online registration for Dabawenyos who are willing to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
The city is targeting to immunize an estimated 1.2 million people to achieve herd immunity.