Iloilo City explores ‘options’ amid AstraZeneca vax surplus

The legal office of the city government here is looking for possible solutions following a surplus of supply of AstraZeneca vaccines due to late delivery.

“We might be going by way of legal remedy. We do not want to already expose what remedies we are planning to do but we are already studying all the other legal remedies available,” said Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas in a press conference on Monday.

The city legal office is already studying what to file and if there is a legal basis, the local government may file “termination and maybe rescission of the contract,” the mayor said.

The city government signed a multilateral agreement for the advance purchase of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca AZD 1222 vaccines on Jan. 10, 2021.

It was done through the efforts of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) and the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) at the height of the pandemic when many were dying and hospitals were full, Treñas said.

However, while more vaccine brands have been coming in, AstraZeneca has incurred delays in its delivery.

Of the city government-procured 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca, 183,000 doses were delivered as of Dec. 28, 2021 but over 400,000 doses are yet to be supplied.

The mayor said at that time AstraZeneca vaccines had arrived, over 70 percent of the target population in the city is already vaccinated.

The city government has received 1,147,728 doses of various brands of vaccines, including the 40,060 doses of AstraZeneca from the Department of Health (DOH), said Dr. Roland Jay Fortuna, Covid-19 focal person.

“Out of this, our consumption rate is 92.11 percent. There are around 90,000 doses are yet to be consumed and these are allocated for the second dose,” he said.

Private firms also donated 23,700 doses of AstraZeneca, 6,400 doses of Moderna, and 2,158 doses of Sinovac.

Joren Sartorio, head of the General Services Office (GSO) and in charge of the logistics cluster for the pandemic response, said so far there are no takers of the AstraZeneca vaccines from Iloilo and even neighboring provinces.

He added that the city government has an earlier commitment of 60,000 doses for the provincial government of Iloilo where 30,000 doses have been delivered.

The province refused the remaining 30,000 doses.

Neighboring municipalities from Guimaras and Iloilo were also provided 45,000 doses of the said brand.

“We are doing all that we can to help surrounding municipalities in the city,” Sartorio said.

The local government even opened its vaccination program to residents outside of the city.

Treñas said the LCP is also lobbying for the national government to “buy-back” the surplus vaccines that were purchased by the city.

Data from the Regional Vaccine Operations Center (RVOC) showed that as of March 7, some 299, 621 eligible population of 18-59 years old are fully vaccinated or equivalent to 144.84 percent, and 114, 541 or 42.8 percent have received their booster dose.

For the 60 years old and above population, 36,477 or 65.93 percent of the 55,328 eligible population are fully vaccinated and 19,707 or 35.62 percent have booster shots.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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