AstraZeneca vaccines to help PH attain herd immunity ‘faster’ — Concepcion

Published July 16, 2021, 3:14 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The country can only win the war against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) if more people get vaccinated against the illness, according to an adviser of President Duterte.

A customs agent inspects the shipment of more than 1.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines, procured by the private sector, that arrived in the country on July 16, 2021 (National Task Force against COVID-19/Twitter)

With the latest delivery of AstraZeneca doses of coronavirus vaccines to the country, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion has reminded Filipinos of their “obligation” to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

According to Concepcion, the vaccination of Filipinos could help hasten efforts to reach herd immunity before the end of the year as well as attain economic recovery “quicker.”

At least 1,150,800 doses of AstraZeneca jabs, procured by the private sector, were finally delivered to the country Friday, July 16. This is the first tranche of the life-saving coronavirus shots bought by the private sector under a tripartite deal with the national government and the British pharmaceutical firm.

“My appeal to our Filipino citizens: we cannot win the war; we bought the vaccines, but if you do not take the vaccines, then we will not be able to succeed in beating COVID-19,” Concepcion said in a statement Friday.

“It is your obligation to take the vaccines so you can protect yourself and others,” Concepcion reminded.

Concepcion said the first batch of COVID vaccines purchased by the private sector was just the beginning of “millions of more doses of hope to come.”

Additional AstraZeneca vaccines are expected to arrive next month with final completion of 17 million doses of vaccine delivery by the first quarter of 2022.

“The product of the first-ever tripartite agreement on vaccine procurement in the world is now in our hands. We have put this forward when everything seems unreachable and during a time when most of the countries in the world have not secured a position on vaccines,” Concepcion said.

“As we gear towards population protection and herd immunity in NCR Plus, these vaccines will get us there faster which will make our economic recovery quicker—saving more lives and livelihoods in the process,” Concepcion underscored.

The President’s adviser also expressed gratitude to AstraZeneca, the national government, and private sector partners for making the vaccine delivery possible.

“These vaccines for employees have arrived. The private sector is playing a big role in trying to achieve population protection, which targets 50 percent of NCR Plus, but definitely, we are looking forward to achieving herd immunity by the end of the year,” he said.

Concepcion joined vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and AstraZeneca Country President Lotis Ramin in welcoming the arrival of the vaccines at the Manila airport Friday.

Also present were “A Dose of Hope” Program Lead Josephine Romero and Zuellig Pharma Chief Business Officer Jannette Jakosalem.

Ramin said AstraZeneca’s commitment to the world was to develop a new coronavirus vaccine at scale in record time and at no profit during the pandemic.

“This commitment brought the Philippine government, local government units, and private sector to come together to ensure Filipinos have access to vaccines and no one is left behind. We are grateful for this remarkable cooperation resulting in this significant milestone. Indeed, when we unite, we are much stronger,” Ramin said.

Romero said the AstraZeneca jabs were a testament of the “Bayanihan” spirit evident among Filipinos.

“Through the partnership of both the private and the public sector, we have obtained these vaccines that would ramp up further our current vaccination program. These doses of hope will hasten our country’s road toward vaccinating its people and opening further the economy,” Romero said.