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Following the lead of other Metro Manila local government executives, Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” R. Teodoro is not relying solely on the national government for the vaccine needs of his constituents. Amid tight city budget, the chief executive of the shoe-making center in the Philippines has signed agreements with three pharmaceutical companies for vaccine procurement. If you are asking if any of them is Chinese, Teodoro says he does not speak Chinese. (source: from January 13, 2021 morning interview on radio DZRH by popular broadcaster Deo Macalma of Pinili, Ilocos Sur)
By EDD K. USMAN
(SDN) — Marikina City is not about to be left out trailing in Metro Manila on the availability of vaccine for residents.
The city chief executive, Mayor Marcy R. Teodoro is making sure of that. He is looking at three pharmaceutical companies for their vaccine, and had already signed agreements with them. Non-Disclosure Agreements he signed with the vaccine-making firms prevents him from naming the manufacturers.
He told radio DZRH top broadcaster Deo Macalma in a Monday phone interview, however, the vaccines he was into are of the United Kingdom and United States variety.
“I don’t speak Chinese,” he responded when asked if there is a vaccine from China he was eyeing.
Why three companies/vaccines
Teodoro has a simple explanation.
“So we can have a diversified portfolio of vaccines; meaning (our) people will have a choice. That’s the big issue today, the issue on trust: safety and efficacy. If the vaccine to be used is effective. What we want is to have a choice,” the mayor emphasized.
Broadcaster/anchor Macalma brought up the issue on whether Filipinos can choice what vaccine they would be given, referencing Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque’s statement that Filipinos can’t choice their vaccine.
Teodoro said the city opted for three different vaccines because what’s involve is the “person’s well-being and health which are at risks here. So, it’s important the person’s decision and choice. That’s what’s important.”
“We are no different from other LGUs (local government units). We are talking to the (pharma companies),” he added. He admitted the vaccines are made in UK and the U.S.
The city government, he pointed out, can afford 120,000 doses as he assured they have a cold storage that can do sub-zero degree temperatures. He stressed the importance of having a cold storage facility because some vaccines cannot be stored for long period.
Teodoro noted that “a deployment strategy is important” as vaccines cannot just be taken out from storage and administered on people just like that. Training for vaccinator is needed as well as profiling for vaccine candidates.
“Before, we thought that only age (of a person) is to be considered.” But there are other factors that must be considered, he said. Profiling is important, so there are doctors and virologists to do the profiling.”
“If I pass the profiling, I will be the first to get a vaccine shot,” he said to help create trust for the vaccination drive.
The mayor underscored the need for trust concerning the vaccine and the healthcare persons who will administer the injection. “I admit we were a pilot area of the Dengvaxia (vaccination).”
As most Filipinos know, cases are now in the courts to prosecute government officials involved in the Dengvaxia vaccination scandal that allegedlyly resulted in the deaths of many children administered with the Sanofi Pasteur-made vaccine.
Teodoro also lamented the city’s scarce funds as it has allocated Php82.2 million for the vaccination campaign. He said they are looking into other sources, such as disposing of idle lands to get more funds, as well as the city’s calamity funds, considering that Covid-19 pandemic is a calamity. Only what is allowed from the calamity fund for the procurement of vaccine, he assured.
He said the city is responding to the pandemic even as it is also rehabilitating from typhoons and flooding. Teodoro said the Php82.2 million for buying of vaccine is an initial amount.
Priority Marikina residents for vaccine drive
As to who would first get to be vaccinated, the city will implement a twin approach, reciprocity and equity.
He said “reciprocity” refers to those with additional risks and burden such as health workers in the front-lines for being exposed to coronavirus patients and have greater risks of being infected.
For “equity,” Teodoro said these are people with vulnerabilities, such as the poor, persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens.
Pharmaceutical companies are averse at signing agreements with LGUs.
So, Teodoro said the methodology to strike a deal with the pharma companies is through a tripartite agreement involving LGU, national government, and pharma firm.
As this developed, he said the city registered 120 cases last week of coronavirus infections, which later shoot up to 188 cases as a result of the holiday season.
He advised households to wear mask even at home because as seen in Marikina City, some households had their whole members infected as they celebrated the recent holidays (Christmas and New Year).
“Even at home families must wear mask and observe social distancing,” he said.
Teodoro was hoping the vaccines could be delivered by the pharma firms soon so the city residents can be vaccinated.
As this developed, at noon time a while ago today the mayor inspected the city’s cold storage facility for vaccine housed at the City Health Office in Barangay Sto. Niño. (✓)