CEBU CITY—Cebuanos will be given the chance to choose what coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to take, assured City Mayor Edgardo Labella.
Labella said a vaccine board has been created to oversee the city’s vaccination program.
The board will be headed the City Health Office chief and will have members composed of “experts from the field of epidemiology”.
Labella said he was informed by the country’s vaccine czar Carlito Galvez that the China-made Sinovac will be the vaccine that will be available soonest in the country.
Western-made vaccines such as Pfizer and AztraZeneca could be available in June or July yet.
“I instructed the vaccine board to determine those who are willing to take the vaccine right away. These are the nitty gritty that we are trying to address,” said Labella.
Labella said he was aware that there were apprehensions growing among the people about the efficacy of Sinovac.
The mayor particularly mentioned Vice Mayor Michael Rama who, he said, was willing to take any vaccine but Sinovac.
Labella said Sinovac will not be forced on the residents of Cebu City.
“Let us give them the chance to choose. After all, this is taxpayer’s money. Let us allow the people to choose to avoid conflict,” said Labella.
While Pfizer and AztraZeneca are the preferred vaccines, Labella sees no problem taking the Sinovac.
“If Sinovac will be available, I will have myself vaccinated if only to show to the people that this is effective,” said Labella.
Labella said the city has already allocated P500 million for the purchase of the vaccine.
Aside from Sinovac, Cebu City can avail of Pfizer and Moderna, vaccines that require -70 minus degree celsius cooling system.
Labella said he was informed by Galvez that there are only three areas in the country that have a -70 minus degree Celsius storage facilities. These areas are in Metro Manila, Cebu City and Davao City.
The three LGUs are hosts to facilities of pharmaceutical company FE Zuellig, which has the capacity of holding Pfizer and Moderna, Labella said.
Sinovac only needs two degrees Celsius requirement for storage.