MANILA — The local government of Antipolo City said Tuesday it was planning to procure several brands for COVID-19 vaccines, noting the importance of the residents’ right to choose.
Mayor Andrea Ynares said the city aimed to have a “little of everything” in vaccine choices, as the city has already set aside some P300 million purchasing.
“Since this is their money, we want to give them the option, kaya lang magiging first come, first serve ang basis. [Kung] sino ang [unang] makakapag-register,” she told reporters.
(This will be a first come, first serve basis -- whoever registers first.)
Some 600,000 residents that include frontliners, members of the marginalized sector, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, will be prioritized for inoculation, said Ynares.
The mayor added that Antipolo has been negotiating with Oxford-AstraZeneca for its COVID-19 vaccines.
A survey, meanwhile, would be conducted to determine the public’s brand of choice. The city also planned to launch an online system through the use of QR codes for the residents’ registration.
Ynares added she did not prefer any vaccine brand, and that the local government would not have any problems in handling the first vaccine to arrive in their city.
“Siguro wala naman, lahat sila OK. Kasi naniniwala ako kay Presidente [na] he’s only after ’yung health ng bawat isa sa atin. Hindi naman niya tayo para ipahamak,” she said.
“Kung sino ang mauna, OK din naman ang China, ’yung handling niya hindi ganu’n ka-difficult, alam mo ang mentality ng tao, I think ’yung China naman is OK.”
(All vaccine brands are OK. I believe the President is after the welfare of everyone, and the brands coming into the country do not intend to harm us. It does not matter which vaccines come first because the handling won’t be difficult. I think China’s vaccine is OK.)
Cold storage facility ready
Ynares said the owner of Cold Chain Warehouse Specialist Inc, Hernan Castro, agreed to store the city’s COVID-19 vaccines for free.
Castro estimated that their cold storage could accommodate up to 5 pallets.
The cold storage facility will be suitable for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines, which requires a storage temperature of -18 degrees to -20 degrees Celsius, and Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccines at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
Another storage, however, will be needed for Pfizer’s vaccines, which should be kept at -70 degrees Celsius.
The mayor estimated rolling out COVID-19 vaccines in her city around the 3rd quarter this year.
According to city health officers, about 200 to 250 COVID-19 vaccine teams composed of city health doctors, nurses, midwives, government hospital workers, barangay health workers, nutrition scholars and encoders would be tapped to lead the rollout.
Possible vaccination sites include barangay covered courts, chapels, national high schools, universities, malls, and clubhouses.
Dr. Concepcion Lat, Antipolo’s City Health Officer, said a site for Adverse Events Following Immunization Monitoring would also be set up for those who might exhibit unusual or severe side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Triage and screening process, meanwhile, will be vital to ensure that the individuals receiving the COVID-19 vaccine have no recent exposure to a COVID-19 patient, or are not COVID-19 suspects, Lat said during an orientation with local health workers.
Antipolo has also urged the national government to provide health supplies needed by health workers during the vaccine rollout, including personal protective equipment, gloves, and syringes, among others.
The LGU is also planning the proper waste disposal of medical supplies especially once the vaccination program begins. — Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News