Muntinlupa City gets 1,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Muntinlupa City has received 1,000 doses of AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine from the national government.

According to Dr. Edwin Dimatatac, medical director of the city-run Ospital ng Muntinlupa (OsMun) in Alabang, the 100 vials, equivalent to 1,000 doses, of the vaccine were delivered to the hospital Tuesday morning.

A hospital worker at Ospital ng Muntinlupa gets vaccinated with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (Russel dela Cruz / MANILA BULLETIN)

OsMun started vaccinating hospital workers with AstraZeneca vaccine today (March 9). The second dose will be administered on May 4.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends two doses of AstraZeneca with an interval of eight to 12 weeks.

Another 300 doses of Sinovac Life Science’s CoronaVac vaccine also arrived at OsMun in addition to the 300 doses which were delivered on March 2.

The AstraZeneca vaccines are part of the 526,000 doses secured by the national government through the COVAX Facility, which acts as the “platform that will support the research, development, and manufacturing of a wide range of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, and negotiate their pricing.”

According to the Gavi-The Vaccine Alliance, the Philippines became the first country to get the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccines directly from AstraZeneca on behalf of COVAX. It said the 500,000 doses were manufactured by SK Bio in South Korea.

South Korea donated $10 million to the COVAX Facility last year, according to the Korean Embassy in the Philippines.

Korean Ambassador Kim Inchul joined President Rodrigo Duterte in welcoming the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccines in the country on March 4.

“The arrival of AstraZeneca vaccines in Manila illustrates the significance of global solidarity in fighting the pandemic. Korea is fully committed to promoting partnership with the Philippines and the global community in overcoming the ongoing health challenge,” the embassy said.

The new vaccines arrived as Muntinlupa recorded an increase of 65 percent in a month in the number of active COVID-19 cases in the city.

The Muntinlupa City government is urging residents to strictly follow safety and health protocols especially in workplaces and public transportation.

Muntinlupa City Health Officer Dr. Teresa Tuliao said recent COVID-19 active cases are residents who work outside the city and may have contracted the virus in their workplaces or during their commute.

She said most of the infected employees have transmitted the virus to their family members leading to the increase in cases.

As of March 7, Muntinlupa recorded 129 active cases from the city’s nine barangays compared to 78 active cases last Feb. 7.

The doubling time, or the number of days for COVID-19 cases to double in number is 28.6 days and the attack rate is at 10.46/1000 as of March 7. The average daily new cases for the past two weeks in Muntinlupa is 12 cases per day while the recovery rate is at 94.69 percent.

While Muntinlupa remains to have one of the lowest COVID-19 attack rates among local government units in Metro Manila, the City Health Office reminded the public to observe “utmost caution” especially when taking public transportation and when they are at work.

The city government is set to coordinate with companies and tricycle and jeepney operators to reinforce the implementation of health measures in their establishments and public transport.

Mayor Jaime Fresnedi urged city residents not to let their guards down and strictly follow minimum health protocols amid the rising COVID-19 cases in the city.

“The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in the country should not give us a false sense of security. COVID-19 is still here and we should continue observing health protocols such as the wearing our face mask and face shield, physical distancing, and washing of hands,” he said.