DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) – The City Government of Davao plans to establish an online platform for Dabawenyos who are willing to sign up for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination program of the city, Mayor Sara Duterte said.
During her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday, Duterte said that the local government prefers online registration to face-to-face to avoid the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
“There is a greater risk of transmission with ‘face-to-face,’ which may cause the infections to spread to other people. But, with online? We can absolutely do that, so that we can get those who are interested to sign up, and to know how many doses we need to get,” she added.
The mayor said the vaccination program is voluntary. She said the city awaits word on the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines for the city from the national government, so that the local government can estimate how much budget it will need to allocate to get its own supply.
She said the local government targets to inoculate at least 1.2 million of the city’s 1.5 million population to achieve “herd immunity.” “I am interested to know how many doses that the national government will give to us, so that we can properly plan how many doses we need to procure to fill in the gap.
Unfortunately, we don’t have such numbers from our national government yet or maybe because it’s also awaiting actual delivery of the vaccines since companies don’t commit how many they can deliver, except for an assurance that they will deliver in tranches,” she said.
Duterte said that contracts between the city government of Davao and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (Philippines), Inc. have already been signed for the purchase of vaccines. The mayor did not discuss the number of initial doses but the delivery of AZD1222, the vaccine developed by the British firm in collaboration with Oxford University, is expected by the third quarter of 2021.
She added that the city will negotiate with other vaccine makers, saying she is not keen on “putting our eggs in one basket.” “We are expanding our options hoping that the supplies will arrive at the same time,” Duterte added.
With more options, she said that only those individuals who will receive the same vaccine brand may experience possible side effects.
“If there is one vaccine that will encounter problems, only those individuals who will get that specific vaccine – God forbid – will experience complications,” she said. The mayor said the local government will come out with an information drive in hopes to encourage more people to get the vaccines, as she anticipates that the actual number of willing individuals will be lower than target.
“That’s just natural for people to raise such a concern, especially that these vaccines are hastily made because of the pandemic. There is a need on the part of the government to do an information drive about COVID-19 vaccines,” she said.
Based on the priority eligible groups of the national government, priority will be given to frontline health workers, indigent senior citizens, remaining senior citizens, remaining indigent population, and uniformed personnel.
As of January 11, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region recorded 14,007 in total COVID-19 cases, with 2,096 active, 11,335 recoveries, and 576 deaths in the region.
Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 9,740 cases, with 1,269 active, 8,015 recoveries, and 456 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 678 cases, Davao del Norte with 1,829, Davao del Sur with 1,034, Davao Occidental with 137, and Davao Oriental with 589.