Let’s get in touch.
We’d love to hear from you.
As fulfillment of its commitment, AstraZeneca will deliver this month the final batch of the 9.8 million total doses of COVID-19 vaccines it pledged to Go Negosyo for its “A Dose of Hope” program.
Expected to welcome the last batch of around 4 million doses are Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr., Astra Zeneca Country President Lotis Ramin and officials from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the Department of Health (DOH).
“We express our utmost gratitude to AstraZeneca for fulfilling its commitment to deliver almost 17 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to Go Negosyo. Without their help, the private sector’s vaccination program would not have succeeded,” Concepcion said.
For her part, AstraZeneca’s Ramin said, “The completion of the delivery of AstraZeneca doses to the private sector through the multilateral agreement with the National government is a testament that with the bayanihan spirit, we are stronger together. We are grateful for the opportunity given to AstraZeneca as the pioneer in this multilateral agreement in helping contribute to vaccine access for Filipinos. This significant milestone is a symbol of hope and I am truly inspired by all the tireless efforts of the private sector and the National government in making this possible.”
Through Go Negosyo’s initiative, the private sector and local government units (LGUs) entered into a tripartite agreement with AstraZeneca for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines under its “A Dose of Hope” program.
The COVID-19 shots provided by AstraZeneca were used to inoculate private sector workers, providing them with ample protection as the country reopened its economy.
“With the arrival of additional shots, we will have enough supply to complete the vaccination of private sector workers. We can also use these to start providing our workers with booster shots while we work on another agreement with AstraZeneca for additional supply,” Concepcion said.
The Go Negosyo founder said the private sector has been given the go-signal by the IATF to start negotiating the procurement of vaccines for booster shots.
Concepcion said he organized a meeting between AstraZeneca and more than 350 private companies for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines to be used as booster shots of private sector workers starting next year.
The government has approved COVID-19 booster shots for fully vaccinated adults aged 18 and older three months after receiving their second dose. Concepcion said boosters form part of the strategy to make the pandemic endemic. “COVID will not completely disappear. Instead, it must become a part of life,” he said.
He explained that for this to happen, enough people have to become immune to the virus either through vaccination or natural immunity.
And though breakthrough cases may still happen, data is showing that cases tended to be mild. And just recently in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened quarantine days from 10 to five days if patients exhibited no symptoms or whose symptoms have improved.
Further mitigating possible surges, said Concepcion, is the fact that Filipinos have been diligent in observing public health and safety protocols, especially with the wearing of face masks.
OCTA Research fellow Fr. Nick Austriaco said in an interview that demographics may become a factor in an Omicron outbreak in the Philippines. If the country mimics the sharp rise and steep fall of Omicron cases in South Africa, he said, this would not likely overwhelm the country’s healthcare system. He added, though, that the Omicron experience of a Southeast Asian country may be more indicative.
Concepcion believes it may be time to stop looking at daily new case counts and panicking over the mild cases. “We monitor only the severe cases which are being hospitalized. Put simply, we just monitor the hospitals and find out which of the infected are unvaccinated, fully vaccinated, or boostered. That kind of information would be more useful,” he said.
“Life must go on,” he said, saying that as the country learns to manage cases, crippling lockdowns can be a thing of the past. ““We must trust the vaccines. And in places now strengthened by vaccination, it is certain that the spread of the virus can be controlled and we can finally learn to live with COVID.”
“When COVID becomes endemic, we will have built a wall of protection through vaccinations, we will know how to avoid catching it, and we will know how to treat it,” Concepcion said. “That is why our goal for 2022 must be to make the pandemic endemic.”