Labella: Most mayors want freedom to choose vaccine brand
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella is urging other city mayors to push through with the tripartite agreement with the national government in the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.
Labella, who is the chairperson of the League of Cities and Municipalities (LCP), said he and fellow mayors in the country have recently passed a resolution urging the national government to allow the local government units (LGU) a free hand to choose their brand of coronavirus vaccines.
The LCP met with vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., on January 12, 2021, and Labella said in a press conference a day after that the mayors were not too happy with the meeting.
“Many of the mayors are pressured to buy a vaccine by their constituents, they are in a hurry,” said Labella.
Although Labella agrees that the LGUs should be given a free hand to choose the vaccine its people prefer, the mayor said he also agrees that the tripartite agreement would be safer for the LGUs as well.
With a tripartite agreement, the national government can ensure the safety of the vaccines for distribution and how the doses can be delivered.
Without a tripartite agreement, the LGUs may choose to order from pharmaceutical companies that may not have the approval from the national government.
“My advice to the mayors, let us continue with the tripartite agreement. But we also appeal to the national government to allow us to choose our vaccines,” said Labella.
As for Cebu City, Labella said the reason why they have not chosen a particular vaccine yet is because of this tripartite agreement.
Labella said he will not sign a deal with any company without the approval of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for the offered vaccines.
Should the vaccines be approved by the FDA, Labella said he will secure an order for the city worth P500 million as had been originally allocated.
As for the specific brand, the vaccine board recently formed in the city will recommend the best vaccine to purchase.
As of now, the choices are Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna. /rcg
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