The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry has appealed to the government to allow the private sector to import COVID-19 vaccines directly and without restrictions to expedite the vaccination of workers considered the country’s economic frontliners.
The order of the group of Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion and Francis Chua of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. was included in the tripartite agreement in which the government is involved in getting the vaccine.
“Kailangan pa rin ‘yong tripartite, under EUA (emergency use authorization), hindi papayag ang pharma companies na walang indemnification… it protects the pharmaceutical company and the private sector as well,” said Concepcion.
The indemnification is a guarantee that the Philippine government will pay compensation in case the vaccination has adverse consequences.
The business group also demanded that the government will also reduce costs if the private sector buys its own vaccine for their workers.
According to Concepcion’s group, the vaccination of economic frontliners will begin in May with the arrival of the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines.
Business group asks to buy COVID-19 vaccine directly
While the national government is vaccinating, the private sector will also be vaccinating.
“Ang mangyayari diyan, same time as the government implements their vaccine for frontline workers, kami na rin implementing it sa economic frontliners,” said Concepcion.
“I doubt if our health authorities have a sound analysis and assessment why the sudden spike in COVID cases. The thing is, how can we have a solution when we don’t know the cause of the problem?” Lacson said in a separate statement.
“Unless some drastic and innovative steps are undertaken, we might all die waiting,” he added.
Lacson lamented how local government units seem to be dragging their feet on securing COVID-19 vaccines.
“Even the private sector and eventually the LGUs, not having the patience to wait for government action, took it upon themselves to procure vaccines for their employees, even offering 50% of their vaccine purchases to the government,” Lacson said.