Monday, June 14, 2021

Bzzzzz: Cebu City may tap services of private firm Vital in vaccines rollout. Third brand the city eyes: Covaxin. Blitz on: 'Magpabakuna ta'

THE Cebu City Government is most likely to buy as its third vaccine of choice Covaxin, which the country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Monday, April 19.

The City Council though has not yet decided to approve the purchase. During its special session on the same day, Councilor Alvin Dizon or anyone else in the consultation platform didn't know yet about the grant of EUA to Covaxin and Janssen vaccines. Dizon had asked for deferring its choice of Covaxin pending the completion of its questioned trials in India and the local FDA's action on its EUA.

VITAL'S SERVICES. The Sanggunian instead asked Majority Floor Leader Raymond Garcia and Minority Floor Leader Nestor Archival, with Mayor Edgar Labella, to speed up negotiations for tapping vaccine rollout services of Vital, the group that markets and distributes Covaxin in the Philippines, and consider that brand and other vaccines the city will buy.

Last March 1, the Sanggunian authorized the mayor to issue the letter of intent to buy P100 million worth of Covovax and another P100 million AstraZeneca. Garcia said Monday the city, after the Covovax and AstraZeneca order, would still have P300 million for vaccines, its earlier P400 million to be added with another P100 million in a supplemental budget. It was not yet ascertained though whether the money for vaccines may include contracted services for the rollout.

'ALCOSEBA TO ZAFRA.' The group led by Cebuano entrepreneurs presented in a virtual meeting to the City Council the vaccine Covaxin and Vital's rollout services from delivery and storage, scheduling, inoculating and tracking, to waste disposal -- or, as Vice Mayor Michael Rama put it, "from A to Z, from Alcoseba to Zafra."

Rama, lead official in the city's Vaccine Convenors, might decide to entrust to Vital all the vaccination rollout work, with government personnel "just assisting."

As to the billing on services, the councilors didn't know yet. A Vital representative, who confirmed that its rollout services cover all vaccine brands, told Councilor Franklyn Ong the cost would depend on the services the client LGU would specify. Indicative price of Covaxin alone is about P900 per dose, the councilors learned.


Davao, Panglao catchphrases

Publicist Cerwin Eviota, for the Cebu Citizens Initiative that supports the Vaccines Convenors of the City Council and the mayor's office, presented to the Sanggunian Monday the logo and jingle the campaign will use in the vaccination information blitz VM Mike Rama and the councilors will wage in the next few days.

The logo originally didn't include the figure of a woman. Eviota's attention was called by some of his CSI colleagues and in the council by Councilor Dizon. Soon, if not done already, the images will also have that of a woman. How about physical distancing, the vice mayor asked aloud. That would be a stretch and nobody picked up.

The succinct and creative message "Ayaw patakod! Ayaw panakud!" is apparently original. The main catchphrase though -- "Magpabakuna ta" -- was used by the Panglao Sangguniang Kabataan Federation last March 5 when its president Jonah Loretero launched its vaccination campaign in that Bohol town. Last March 19, the Davao City Government unwrapped the logo of its own campaign with the catchphrase, "Better jud nga magpabakuna ta..." But then, how else could the message be differently expressed?

The jingle, which highlights the catchphrase, is sung by the Missing Filemon rock band led by former journalist Lorenzo Niñal. The group founded in 2002 won a Famas award for best theme song in the 2007 film "Confessional."

The instruments of hype over vaccines are ready. Meanwhile, keep waiting for the vaccines.


'Kon si Baquero makonsehal'

Broadcaster and former newspaper reporter Elias O. Baquero said Monday, April 19, on dyRC's Yagyagan he'd seek the abolition of the Cebu City ordinance penalizing the giving of alms to beggars and the amendment of the ordinance prohibiting overnight parking, so as to allow clamping of the vehicle only if the vehicle has illegally parked for the entire period of 12 midnight to 5 a.m.

He would do that "kon si Baquero makonsehal...," Baquero said in the third person, followed though by the disclaimer "joke, joke lang ni." Elias became a mayor of his hometown Balilihan in Bohol (22 kilometers northeast of Tagbilaran City) shortly after the 1986 Edsa Revolution because of something more than a joke. He visited the office of then DILG chief Nene Pimentel for something else and got appointment papers instead. That was a lot more unplanned and unintended than two valid proposals supposedly wrapped in a joke.


Gwen's advice to 'Miss Covid'

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia's occasional rebuke of news reporters and, at times, editors is often not welcomed by the journalist struck by the criticism, particularly when it is sweeping and cites no specifics.

Her Monday, April 19, comment though about a reporter she playfully calls "Miss Covid" carried relevant advice about slanted headline and lack of context in the news story.

In sum: numbers on Covid-19 cases must be explained, not just repeated in the news story, and the headline needs to be carefully phrased.

The DOH figures apparently don't carry an explanation or qualifier, not in the same way that Guv Gwen tells it in her live-streamed talks. She must expect the reporter to seek out the explanation from DOH or other experts. The explanation will help readers and audiences, most of whom don't understand the numbers, other than their being high or low.

An editor writes the headline, not the reporter. And the editor is supposed to spot the lack of context and have it supplied before publication.


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