Business calls for speedy vaccine procurement, rollout

Published May 1, 2021, 4:00 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The business sector has reiterated its call for government to speed up the procurement and rollout of vaccines to ensure the safety of Filipinos, boost consumer confidence, and for the recovery of the economy.

Amb. Benedicto V. Yujuico, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), issued this call again at the “Vaccine Summit: Equitable Distribution and Safety”, which was organized by the PCCI organized together  with the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. 

PCCI President Amb. Benedicto Yujuico

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, PCCI and our local chamber and partner organizations and members have been tirelessly working in supporting businesses and communities through various initiatives and efforts at the national, regional and local levels to help our business enterprises survive these difficult times,” said Yujuico.

He said that PCCI will continue to be “partners of government and will do whatever is necessary until such time that this virus has been overcome and everyone can return to normal life.”

Meantime, the private sector expressed readiness to lend to the government its share of vaccines to ensure that schedules of inoculation are followed in case there would be delays in the arrival of vaccines. 

This was the assurance by Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Jose “Joey” Ma. A.  Concepcion III Concepcion, who started the Project Ark to facilitate COVID-19 testing during the pandemic and the A Dose of Hope for a tripartite vaccine importation initiative, as he acknowledged that delivery of most vaccines has been delayed.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and GoNegosyo founder Joey Concepcion. (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Already, Concepcion said the private sector has agreed to the request of Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. to lend to them 500,000 doses just in case the COVAX supply from the World Health Organization will not arrive in May or June this year. 

This is to ensure that those scheduled to take their second dose can get the vaccines on time. 

“Of course we would support them if COVAX will not arrive in May or June because those who took the first dose must take the second does around that time,” he said. 

He said that all that there will be no more delays of the 17 million doses from Astra Zeneca where the local government units are getting 11 million doses. The Astra Zeneca vaccines are expected to arrive in June this year. 

Moderna is also expected to come in June and towards the end of the year while the Novavax with close to a million doses will be arriving towards the third quarter this year. 

Concepcion also noted of the COVID-19 challenges in India where the COVAXIN is made. He, however, said that 8 million doses of COVAXIN are expected to come in third quarter also. 

In the same event, Galvez said that 148 million doses of various vaccine brands are expected to arrive up to the end of this year.  Of this supply, 20 percent or 22 million doses will come from the WHO COVAX facility. 

Meantime, Ambassador Huang from Chinese Embassy in the Philippines vowed continued support to the Philippines’ immunization goals. He said that China has 5 approved vaccines already with 80 countries already granting authorities for their use.

 
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