LGU Naga bares strategy on vaccine procurement

By Jason B. Neola


NAGA CITY --- Mayor Nelson Legacion has assured Nagueños that the city government’s plan to vaccinate its constituents with Covid-19 vaccine willl be undertaken thru the “ubos kun ubos, gabos kun gabos” approach.

That means the city government will be pursuing for the total immunization of 224,668 Nagueños or 100 percent of its population, and complete it by year 2022. Under the plan, the mass vaccination will start in May 2021 when AstraZeneca vaccines are readily available.


The mayor, however, said that frontliners and health workers along with those whose ages range from 30-59 years old shall be prioritized in mass immunization. The city’s dashboard on Covid-19 showed that the age group, which comprises 37 percent of the city’s population or 82,237 Nagueños, has 336 confirmed cases and 14 deaths, the highest record obtained so far among the age brackets for the past 9 ½ months.


The situation, according to Legacion, is what the city government wishes to dramatically eliminate, hence, the prioritization of the sector in the inoculation.


The LGU also took into consideration of giving priority to those who are in their 60s and above. The city’s Health Emergency Response Task Force has registered 93 confirmed cases and 11 deaths due to Covid-19 in this age bracket.

Why AstraZeneca


In a press briefing held yesterday, Jan. 11, Legacion said the city government has opted to purchase Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca due to the availability of its product.


“By May 2021, AstraZeneca shall have an allocation of 30 million doses for the government and 2.6 million doses for the private sector,” he said.


AstraZeneca, a reputable British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical-biopharmaceutical company, was chosen by LGU Naga over four other companies that are identified with Russia and China such as the Gamaleya-Sputnik, Sinovac, Sinopharm, and Cansino.


Cansino vaccines were the ones used in the inoculation of the military in China. Vaccines from these Russian and Chinese firms will be available in the Philippines by the first quarter of 2021.


The city government also adopted as bases in the procurement of vaccines the product’s price and efficacy, two factors that made the city government to choose AstraZeneca.


Legacion said AstraZeneca vaccines, which has 70-90 percent efficacy, will cost LGU Naga with only P137.5-M (P610/2 doses) for the immunization of its total population, well below from what it has to spend for vaccines being offered by other companies including those in Russia and China. (please see related data above).


Availability of more Covid-19 vaccines manufactured by other reliable pharmaceutical companies such as the American pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer, Covax of France, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson of the United States and the American biotechnology company Moderna would be in the third and fourth quarters of 2021.


Strategic approach


Based on its comparative cost and vaccine option, with the city’s 224,688 population, LGU Naga will need to spend P534.49-M for Pfizer vaccines (P2,379/2 doses); Moderna, P877.11-M (P3,904/2 doses); Sinovac, P815.43-M (P3,630/2 doses); and Gamaleya, P274.10-M (P1,220/2 doses).


The city mayor said the city government will allocate from the local fund this year an initial amount of P50 million for the purchase of vaccines intended to 30-59 years old Nagueños, a sector of 82,237 residents representing the 37 percent of the city’s population.


By year 2022, another P50 million will be allocated from the LGU’s annual budget to cover the vaccination of at least 50 percent of the entire city population.


He said the LGU is also eyeing for the establishment of partnerships with the private sector like the SM City Naga and the San Miguel Brewery to be able to meet the target of 100 percent vaccinated residents.


Legacion expressed optimism that the national government will also allocate funds to help the LGU in the conduct of immunization in the city.