Quezon City signs deal for 750,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses

Pia Ranada

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VACCINES NEEDED. A man inspects an isolation tent for COVID-19 cases in Quezon City.

File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Metro Manila's most populous city becomes among the first local governments to enter into a deal for a COVID-19 vaccine

Quezon City entered into a deal on Tuesday, January 5, to secure 750,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, Mayor Joy Belmonte confirmed to Rappler.

“We were allocated 750,000 [doses], so good for 375,000 people,” Belmonte said on Tuesday night.

This number of people is 13% of Quezon City’s population of roughly 2.9 million.

The deal signed by Quezon City is a tripartite agreement with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Philippines and the National Task Force vs COVID-19 (NTF). It appears to be among the first agreements for a COVID-19 vaccine entered into by a local government.

Rappler learned that another Metro Manila mayor had also signed an agreement on Tuesday with AstraZeneca for vaccine doses.

The doses for Quezon City are projected to arrive in the 3rd quarter of 2021, or the months of July to September, at the earliest.

Who will get these vaccine doses?

City Hall laid out the following sectors as priority recipients of COVID-19 vaccines it will acquire:

  • 10,000 health workers
  • 300,000 senior citizens
  • 20,000 adult persons with disabilities

After these 3 groups, Quezon City will prioritize other sectors recommended by the World Health Organization.

As of Tuesday, Quezon City is the city with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country – 39,491, according to the health department’s tracker. It is followed by Manila with 26,577 cases.

With City Council approval

Belmonte signed on after the Quezon City Council passed a resolution giving her powers to enter into a contract for the “advance purchase” of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The city will use a portion of the P1-billion budget allocated for vaccines and inoculation supplies for an initial purchase of AstraZeneca vaccine doses.

Are such agreements allowed?

Earlier on Tuesday, National Action Plan vs COVID-19 deputy implementer Vince Dizon said local governments may enter into their own deals for vaccines as long as they take the form of tripartite agreements involving the national government.

In the case of the Quezon City agreement, the NTF represents the national government.

The only other signed agreement for a COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines is the tripartite agreement entered into by private corporations, AstraZeneca, and the national government for 3 million doses.

Other cities in the Philippines, especially in coronavirus epicenter Metro Manila, are pursuing their own arrangements to secure highly sought-after and limited vaccine doses.

But even with such deals signed, no vaccine can be distributed and administered in the country without the approval of the Food and Drug Administration. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.