Cebu City prepares budget for ‘future COVID-19 vaccine’
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said the city is preparing funds for a vaccine against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) once it becomes available.
Labella said that the city is prioritizing the allocation of funds for a vaccine expected in 2021 since the national government said it can buy vaccine for 20 million people. Even the City of Manila has allocated P200 million for the expected vaccine to augment what the national government can provide.
Cebu City has followed suit by starting to review the funds in the 2020 annual budget and identifying the areas, departments, and projects that they can save funds from.
This way, should the vaccine come, the city will be prepared to purchase when they come. Whatever the national government can provide, the city will try to augment these as much as it can.
“We will ensure that we can provide COVID-19 vaccines to our residents especially the poorest of the poor, when a vaccine is approved by the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration),” said the mayor.
Not only is the city saving up for a COVID-19 vaccine, it is also planning to purchase flu and pneumonia vaccines for the health workers and other frontliners as soon as possible.
The flu and pneumonia vaccines have been recommended by the Department of Health (DOH) to protect the frontliners from suffering the severe respiratory form of the COVID-19.
Labella ordered the local finance committee to look for additional budget for the flu and pneumonia vaccines as well.
The mayor said there are still funds, but the tax collection has been affected by the pandemic and the city may fall short in collecting income.
With this, the city must save for future expenses for the COVID-19. /bmjo
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