BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio Leonardia urged Bacolodnons to avail themselves of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine once it is available in the city.
Leonardia, who is also the national President of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), said Monday, March 1, that they already made an initial payment of more than P31 million to AstraZeneca for the procurement of 650,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
"The initial payment practically consummates our contract for these critical vaccine supplies. We wanted to close the agreement as early as we could and that is why we made the payment ahead of the February 24 deadline," he said.
He said the advance payment would ensure the delivery of the vaccines starting the third quarter of the year.
The mayor noted they are hopeful that by March or April, AstraZeneca could estimate their production volume, and it's his assumption that when the vaccines of AstraZeneca come, they will proportionately distribute it to Bacolod.
"We have a very stable position in terms of the vaccines are concerned, much-much more than other local government units in the country, so we should take advantage of that opportunity," Leonardia said.
He said there were some LGUs wanting to avail vaccines, but for now, they do not have an assurance when they can get it.
"We are thankful that we already signed an agreement with AstraZeneca, so the people must accept and cooperate for the Covid-19 vaccination program," he added.
Leonardia said they also have a verbal talk with AstraZeneca, but have not concluded that AstraZeneca will provide an additional 150,000 doses for Bacolod.
Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran earlier said of 650,000 doses of AstraZeneca, 355,000 individuals in Bacolod can avail this vaccine which costs P610 for the two doses.
"Those who are willing to avail the vaccine will get two doses of vaccines and it's already enough for our constituents because those who are below 18 years old are not beneficiaries of this vaccine," he said.
He added the vaccine will only be used to 18 years old and above because the minors are not part of the vaccine trials.
Familiaran noted that based on the 2015 census, those who are below 18 years old reached 206,000 individuals.
Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy medical for data analysis and assessment of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), also earlier said they will intensify their information and education campaign so that the public will participate in the vaccination.
He said the EOC will consult with different infectious disease consultants and will convene with the speakers' bureau concerning the planned vaccination.
"We want to emphasize to the public the benefit and importance of the vaccine. We are encouraging people to avail it," he added.