Private sector firms up COVID-19 vaccine donation

A tripartite agreement was signed today for the private sector donation to the government of 3-million dosage of COVID-19 vaccine, estimated to cost P700 million.

 The agreement “Angat Lahat: A Dose of Hope” was signed today by Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Nego Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, who is representing the private sector, Sec. Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the Philippines’s Declared National Policy Against COVID-19, and Lotis Ramin, president of AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Philippines Inc. in a virtual ceremony at JoeCon Hall in RFM Corporate Center.

Concepcion explained that the vaccines will be donated to the Department of Health, who will handle the deployment. Half of the donations will be set aside for government frontliners, while the other 50% will cover employees in the private sector - both regular and contractual.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion is leading private

sector efforts to procure 2.5 million to 3 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in an effort to augment the national government’s separate procurement initiatives. 

“We’re targeting 2.5 million to 3 million doses which will help 1.5 million people in the upper end of the range since the vaccine requires two doses. We want to ensure that the Philippines will not be left behind when the vaccines come out in 2021,” Concepcion said, adding that the deal has an estimated value of P600 million-P700 million.

Go Negosyo will purchase 70,000 doses of the vaccine for MSMEs which will cover 35,000 people when the vaccines are made available by next year.

The vaccine from AstraZeneca is expected to cost around P500 ($10) for two doses, which is cheaper than regular testing methods.

The private sector is working closely with vaccine czar Galvez who is leading separate government-led discussions with pharma companies, including AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca has a zero-profit program for 2021, which means the vaccines are priced as low as possible.

Galvez called on the private sector to take care of its own flock provided that we follow the priority sectors of frontliners and the poorest of the poor.

The private sectors donors are International Container Terminal Services, Inc., BDO Unibank, First Philippine Holdings Corporation, Go Negosyo, LT Group, Inc., San Miguel Corporation, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, Universal Leaf Philippines Inc, LBC Express Holdings Inc, Udenna Corporation, GT Capital Holdings Inc., Wilcon Depot Inc., Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc., Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Golden ABC Inc, Mercury Drug Corporation, Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing Inc., Bounty Fresh Food Inc., RFM, Concepcion Industries, Jollibee Foods Corporation, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Phils. Inc., Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc., Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, Nova Group, Alliance Global, Inc., JG Summit Holdings, Inc., Philippine Franchise Association, Double Dragon/MerryMart, Filinvest Development Corporation, Lotis Shoppe, Century Properties Group, Bench, CDO, Mercedez Benz, Rustans, Megaworld, and SEAOIIL Philippines.

Meanwhile, AFP reported from London yesterday, the head of British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca said on Thursday further research was needed on its Covid-19 vaccine after questions emerged over the protection it offers, but the additional testing is unlikely to affect regulatory approval in Europe.

AstraZeneca and its partner, the University of Oxford, announced on Monday that it was seeking regulatory approval for the vaccine after it showed an average 70-percent effectiveness.

That rate jumped to 90 percent when an initial half-dose then a full dose was given, similar to that in rival vaccines in development by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.