TACLOBAN CITY – After initially saying that the city government of Ormoc will be buying vaccines good for 30 to 40 percent of the city’s 240,000 residents with an estimated cost of P200-million, City Mayor Richard Gomez announced that the Ormoc City coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Vaccine Council (ORCOVAC) has decided to buy vaccines for at least 80 percent of the population.
The ORCOVAC said the city government has enough money to buy more. “The vaccination program is our priority this year,” Mayor Gomez said.
The Ormoc City COVID-19 Vaccine Council is a body created by Gomez on December 29, 2020, to study ways and means to implement the COVID-19 vaccination program. It is composed of top city officials and representatives of the private sector.
Composing the task force are the mayor as chairman; Vice Mayor Leo Carmelo Locsin Jr. as vice chairman; Councilors Eusebio Gerardo Penserga, Peter Rodriguez, and Vincent Rama as members; and city health doctor Edmund Kierulf, city administrator Vincent Emnas, city legal officer Joy Mejia Romero, city budget officer Sabrina Duero, city treasurer Delia Vilbar, city accountant Rosario Serafica, city social welfare, and development officer Delia Corbo, city planning and development officer Raoul Cam, and infectious disease specialist Dr. Larsen Omolon, as members.
From the private sector, Gomez has also included Ormoc Chamber president Stephanie Diane Chu and the chief of private hospitals namely Dr. Gardenia Larrazabal of Ormoc Doctors’ Hospital, Dr. Jaime Gatchalian Jr. of Clinica Gatchalian and Hospital, and, Dr. Sandra Fiel-Chiong of OSPA-Farmers’ Medical Center as members.
Gomez said that some P350-million has been earmarked for the vaccination program. He said that he wants a 100 percent coverage, but added that the sum might just initially cover around 80 percent because “there will be other expenses like syringes, cotton, alcohol, storage, etc.”
The council, however, will meet again to decide on which vaccine to buy.
Gomez expressed hope that as more pharmaceuticals race to have their vaccines get emergency approval, the prices will go down.