Isko Mayor Isko Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna personally fetch 400,000 doses of vaccines from Sinovac which the city had purchased. With then are Manila Health Department Chief Dr. Arnold ‘Poks’ Pangan (behind Honey), Assistant Secretary to the Mayor Letlet Zarcal (behind Duque) and majority floorleader Joel Chua. Also there for the arrival of the 1.6 million Sinovac doses for the national government were Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Carlito Galvez, Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19. Photo by JERRY S. TAN

Manila 1st LGU to buy own set of COVID vax

June 24, 2021 Itchie G. Cabayan 204 views

Isko, Honey inaugurate Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital

MAYOR Isko Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna personally welcomed the arrival at the NAIA of 400,000 doses of vaccines from Sinovac Life Sciences, Co., Ltd. purchased by the city, making Manila the first local government unit (LGU) in the world to have been able to buy its own set of vaccine.

Moreno, who was also accompanied by Manila City Council Majority Floorleader Atty. Joel Chua, assistant secretary to the mayor Letlet Zarcal and Manila Health Department chief Dr. Arnold ‘Poks’ Pangan, said the vaccines worth P298.5 million is their gift to the people of Manila as the city celebrated its 450th ‘Araw ng Maynila’ or founding anniversary June 24. The said vaccines arrived at past 7 a.m. via Cebu Pacific flight 5J-671 at Bay 49 of the NAIA Terminal 2.

The Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital was inaugurated by Moreno and Lacuna yesterday, Thursday. It will begin operations on June 25, 2021.

The said hospital will take all mild to moderate COVID patients from the city-run hospitals so the said hospitals can concentrate on taking care of regular patients with other various illnesses.

Moreno said the city government, which had been conducting a record-breaking record with its fast deployment of vaccines coming from the national government, will romp up its vaccination processes even more now that it already has 400,000 doses on hand, which is good for inoculation of 200,000 people in all.

“Excited kami but with the help of the national government’s effort in providing vaccines to the LGUs, in the next two weeks, we will try to finish this set at the rate we are going,” Moreno said.

To date, the city of Manila had been vaccinating over 35,000 individuals in one day, in 22 vaccination sites spread all over the city and operating from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. for a total of 14 hours per vaccination day. The vaccination program is being handled by Lacuna and Pangan.

Moreno thanked Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Carlito Galvez, Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19, whom he said immediately approved the documents needed which enabled the Manila LGU to purchase its own set of Sinovac doses. Duque and Galvez were there for the arrival of the 1.6 million doses of Sinovac that came along with Moreno’s order.

He also thanked the Ambassador of China to the Philippines Huang Xilian and the Beijing government for the assistance in achieving the contract of acquisition.

“We were able to complete the agreement in less than two months at nagpapasalamat kami sa tulong nina Secretary Duque at Secretary Galvez, hindi tumagal ng isang araw ang papel. Magandang regalo ito para sa mga Batang Maynila,” the mayor said.

Apart from the Sinovac doses, Manila also purchased as early as last year 800,000 doses of Astra Zeneca which, Moreno said, may come earlier than the slated arrival in September.

Moreno said the efforts being undertaken by the city of Manila remain in sync with the direction of the national government toward achieving herd immunity.