MANILA, Philippines — The city government of Taguig has set aside a P1 billion budget to purchase different versions of the COVID-19 vaccines and help the national government’s vaccination rollout.

According to a statement from the Taguig local government unit (LGU) on Tuesday, they are looking to buy vaccines created through different methods — meaning those derived from mRNA and DNA, or those that used viral vectors — to ensure that they would be prepared for different COVID-19 variants of concern.

As of now, the city was able to iron out agreements with three pharmaceutical companies, namely:

  • Novavax which produces Covovax, a protein based vaccine that uses recombinant technology (memorandum of understanding);
  • IP BioTech for Covaxin which is an inactivated vaccine (term sheets), and;
  • AstraZeneca which is an adenovirus-based viral vector vaccine (memorandum of agreement)

“Taguig City is preparing a portfolio of vaccines that would complement the national government supply and ensure each citizen would receive free vaccination. The City has set aside 1 billion pesos to spend for the needed preparations and vaccine supply,” the LGU said.

“Having a diverse portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines with different vaccine types from mRNA and DNA vaccines to recombinant protein vaccines and viral vectors, creates options which could help combat different COVID-19 variants,” it added.

Aside from the above-mentioned companies, Taguig revealed that they are talking to other pharmaceutical companies like Moderna, which produces vaccines using mRNA that instruct the human body’s immune system.

Still, Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano said that they would not wait for the coming vaccines to start their rollout program.  As of Monday, Taguig has vaccinated 1,694 health workers using the allocation from the national government, which received donated vaccines made by Sinovac Biotech and Astrazeneca.

“While we continue to build our portfolio of vaccines and wait for the supplies to arrive, we believe that the best vaccine to administer to our citizens is the vaccine that is available now,” Cayetano stated.

Despite the arrival of the vaccines, the local government stressed the need to maintain health protocols, from hand washing to proper wearing of masks, to maintaining physical distancing and avoiding large gatherings.

“The city government assures its citizens that these vaccines can provide protection from COVID-19 including its new variants,” Taguig said.

“Nevertheless, following the minimum health and safety protocols issued by the national and local government such as wearing face masks and face shields, maintaining physical distancing, and frequently washing of hands and sanitation using alcohol are still effective in controlling the spread of the virus including the new variants that were discovered recently,” it added.


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TAGS: Astrazenca, COVID-19 Vaccine, COVID-19 variants of concern, Metro, Metro Manila, Moderna, mRNA, novovax, Philippine news updates, Taguig, vaccination rollout, viral vectors

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