BACOLOD CITY – Mayor Evelio Leonardia took his first shot of AstraZeneca coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine on Saturday afternoon to show his constituents that the European brand is safe.
Leonardia, the national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, got vaccinated, some two days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended its continued use upon review by health experts.
“I felt morally bound to go for AstraZeneca because it is still a very legitimate and highly-reliable brand. AstraZeneca is reasonably-priced, it is a product that is espousing ‘no profit, no loss’ commercial stance,” he said in a press briefing after he received the jab.
The Department of Health had earlier suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccine on individuals aged below 60 years old, following reports of blood clots with low platelets detected in some inoculated individuals.
Leonardia, 68, said that the “compelling reason” in his choice is the city government’s purchase agreement with the British-Swedish drugmaker for 650,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine expected to arrive in July this year.
With each person set to get two doses each, some 325,000 individuals, or 78 percent of the city’s target population for inoculation will be able to receive the vaccine.
“That means, if that is the brand for our people, that should be my brand, too. I will stand with our people. This is a question of moral leadership,” Leonardia said.
“I’m happy that I have been given this chance to be a model, to be an example, and to champion the cause of vaccination,” the mayor said, adding that he “practically didn’t feel anything” during the process, and did not manifest any adverse side effects afterwards.
Leonardia was among the local chief executives considered eligible for vaccination ahead of the others since Bacolod is considered a critical and high-risk locality, as determined by the DOH, based on the National Covid-19 Vaccination Operations Center Advisory 26.
Dr. Edwin Miraflor, officer-in-charge of the City Health Office, who administered the vaccine on Leonardia, said that with the city mayor getting vaccinated, he hopes that more Bacolodnons will be encouraged to also get inoculated.
“We used AstraZeneca on him, the same brand ordered by the city. We’re waiting for the guidelines of the DOH that we can resume its use for those below 60 years old,” he added.
City officials who witnessed the vaccination were Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, chair of the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid-19; Councilor Renecito Novero, chair of the Quarantine Centers Action Team; and Councilor Lady Gles Pallen, president of Liga ng mga Barangay.
Along with Leonardia, 19 dentists and six other healthcare workers, who were all senior citizens, were also given their first AstraZeneca shots in the same venue. (PNA)