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Review of the AstraZeneca-vaccine purchase agreement by Bacolod City

After the manufacturer demanded payment for the 434,000 doses of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines that the city has not yet formally received, the City Legal Office (CLO) in this location is reviewing the local government’s vaccine purchase agreement with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Philippines Inc.

Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez stated on Monday that he recently met with a representative of AstraZeneca who asked for the local administration to pay the remaining PHP98 million.

That is what we are researching. I’m asking the CLO to verify the purchase agreement and contract right now,” he told the press.

AstraZeneca received PHP65 million initially from the local government as part of the purchase agreement.

Benitez asserted that his position is to refuse to cover the cost of the remaining immunizations.

“You will have to excuse me, I will attempt to the best of my abilities not to pay you,” he remarked to the AstraZeneca agent.

The mayor continued, “We’ll see how it works, but I would rather invest that money somewhere else, where it can be used by the people.

The covid-19 vaccine was purchased from AstraZeneca by the previous administration of Mayor Evelio Leonardia for a total of 650,000 doses, of which 216,000 doses have been received and are being used in full by the local government in addition to the other brands that have been provided by the federal government.

Benitez claimed that the vaccine’s maker had told him that the 434,000 doses had been given to the Department of Health (DOH) the previous year, but that Bacolod’s city government had refused to accept them because the city had already surpassed its goal of immunization coverage rate.

More than 300,000 of the vaccines, which have a six-month shelf life, have already passed their expiration date, he continued.

Bacolod City, which is now on Alert Level 1, has had an average vaccination rate of 146 percent among the adult population, exceeding the DOH’s target.

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