Over 200 Philippine companies have "expressed their pledge and interest" in buying doses of COVID-19 vaccines from British company AstraZeneca, according to Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion.
"This only means that the business community is very serious in ensuring that our economy will remain open while slowly ending this war," Concepcion said in a recent statement, adding that "more than 200 companies already expressed their pledge and interest, and still counting."
Concepcion said among them were:
Vaccination of each person takes two doses. Each dose of AstraZeneca is still at its base cost of $5, said Concepcion, or around P241.50.
In a first batch in November, over 30 business leaders signed a deal with the Philippine government for 2.6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine worth around P700 million.
In that deal, half of the vaccines will be donated to the government and half will be for employees of the private sector. The vaccines of that first procurement are expected to arrive around the 2nd quarter of 2021.
AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford University in the United Kingdom, reports a 70% effectivity rate against COVID-19.
However, experts have raised doubts with the vaccine because the second group of participants in the clinical trial were aged 55 and below, an age range said to be of lower risk to developing severe coronavirus symptoms.
Concepcion said that they have been in talks with microfinance institutions (MFIs) to kickstart plans on procuring vaccine doses as well, in order to revive MFIs. Helping MFIs will revive the assistance to Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises or MSMEs.
"The more businesses involved in this project, the faster the ecosystem will be revived, thus, stimulating exchange. It is one answer to the question of how we get money flowing again – it will stop the bleeding," said Concepcion.
Concepcion said the private sector's effort is a complement to the government's effort.
"If the private sector will not help, the economy will remain restricted," said Concepcion.
The Duterte government has been under scrutiny for a slow-paced process in getting the Pfizer vaccine, with Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr saying "somebody dropped the ball," alluding to embattled Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said Pfizer's vaccine may arrive in the country by the 3rd quarter of 2021 at the earliest, along with the bulk of other vaccines eyed by the Philippines. – Rappler.com