GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The provincial government of South Cotabato has allotted an initial PHP200 million for the consolidated purchase of some 600,000 doses of the Covovax vaccine, an official said on Tuesday.
South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. said the funds will mainly augment the budget set for vaccine procurement and the planned mass inoculation against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) this year of the province’s 10 municipalities and lone city.
He said the provincial government and the 11 localities agreed to consolidate the purchase of the vaccines through a 60-40 sharing scheme.
The city and municipal governments will shoulder 60 percent of the funding requirement while the provincial government will assume the remaining 40 percent, he said.
“Each of them made commitments ranging from PHP12 to PHP40 million, depending on the size of their target population that will be inoculated,” Tamayo said in a radio interview.
The governor announced last month that they already sent a letter of intent to purchase 600,000 doses of Covovax, which was developed by United States-based firm Novavax and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
The procurement would be finalized within July to September or the third quarter of the year based on an earlier advisory received by the local government, he said.
Tamayo said the ordered vaccines will augment the deliveries from the national government so the area will eventually reach the targeted 70 percent coverage and achieve herd immunity against the disease.
He said the supplies from the Department of Health (DOH) have been continuously arriving, allowing the province to expand its rollout among the eligible population.
The Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) reported on Monday that a total of 7,936 health workers in the province already received their first dose of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines.
This covered frontline healthcare workers from Covid-19 referral hospitals, other private and government infirmaries and hospitals, community isolation facilities and rural health units.
The inoculated individuals represent 90 percent of the 8,826 vaccine doses that were delivered by the DOH-Region 12 to the province since March 6.
The IPHO started administering on Monday the second dose or booster shots for the first batch of 1,456 health workers who received the Sinovac vaccines last month.
Local government units, especially at the barangay level, have already started enlisting senior citizens in the province in line with the expansion of the vaccination campaign.
“Hopefully, every eligible resident will be vaccinated within this year,” Tamayo said.
He added that some companies based in the province are now also preparing to purchase vaccines for their workers following approval from the national government. (PNA)