A total of 17 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from private sector are expected to be made available in the second semester to inoculate 8 million Filipinos from 39 local government units (LGUs).
These 39 LGUs, together with 300 donor companies and vaccine supplier AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Philippines, Inc., participated in the “A Dose of Hope” ceremonial Signing Wave 2.
Those who signed Wave 2 of “A dose of Hope” were Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Philippines Inc. country president Lotis Ramin, Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, and Ambassador Daniel Pruce of the British Embassy.
Concepcion said the 17 million doses summed up the private sector donations from Wave 1 with 35 companies, and 300 donor firms for Wave 2.
Based on the agreement, 50 percent of the donated vaccines will be given to the donors for their own employees and 50 percent will go to the government through the Department of Health, which will allocate these vaccines to identified sectors.
For the second wave of the “A Dose of Hope” project, the same tripartite model was adopted as vaccine procurement is still under Emergency Use Authorization – an authorization issued for unregistered drugs and vaccines in a public health emergency.
Under this situation, only the government is allowed to deal and procure vaccines from various vaccine makers.
“I like to thank first Secretary Charlie Galvez. Without your support, this tripartite agreement would have not been possible. Also, I like to thank the CEO of AstraZeneca, Lotis Ramin. Without your doses, we will not be here today to sign the agreement. We admire your company and your patriotism. These vaccines are really the way forward in helping our Filipino save lives and livelihood. Ambassador Pruce for all your efforts in forging this partnership and helping the negotiations move forward. And the private sector, our donors. The first batch was about 35 of the conglomerates who supported the program, and in the second batch, around 300 companies supported the program. And of course, our LGUs, who are now part of the Dose of Hope, 39 of them,” Concepcion said.
Concepcion also hinted of a Wave 3 of the “A Dose of Hope” donation drive, stating they are talking with another provider although he did not discount another collaboration with AstraZeneca, citing the patriotism of its country head Lotis Ramin.
“There is still a long list of private sector wanting to purchase vaccines,” he said.
Galvez explained that the government cannot delegate the responsibility of importing the vaccines to anybody else because there are still ongoing trials.
“All emergency use should be controlled by the government,” he stressed.
“We cannot commercialize the procurement of vaccines,” he said adding that no vaccine company will sell to different companies but to the national governments only.
Concepcion also supported Galvez, saying the private sector will abide with its agreement with the government for their respective roles.
Galvez said that the government is targeting between 50 to 70 million people to be inoculated this year and another wave next year.
Local chief executives from participating LGUs that procured vaccines from AstraZeneca also graced the the Wave 2 signing program.
They include Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora, Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco, Las Piñas City Vice Mayor April AguilarNery, Makati City Mayor Abby Binay, Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmelita Abalos, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, and Tracing Czar Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong, among others.
The government is targeting to secure 148 million doses.
To date, Galvez said, the tally has reached 137 million doses once all purchase contracts are signed this month.
Concepcion said that the Philippines cannot be left behind in the COVID-19 vaccination.