The Doses of Hope on track

GO NEGOSYO PILIPINAS ANGAT LAHAT! (The Philippine Star) - April 8, 2021 - 12:00am

Last Wednesday, March 31, I was interviewed by Jester Delos Santos of OneNews PH and Johnson Manabat of DZMM, to whom I shared updates on the current status of some of the vaccines that we have procured, the possible arrival dates of the vaccines this May and onwards, the importance of putting our efforts into increasing vaccine confidence, and the primacy of focusing our efforts on Metro Manila and on the micro and small sector.

With Jester Delos Santos on vaccine update and confidence

Jester: Sir Joey, how sure are we that the vaccine procured by the private sector will be delivered on schedule, given of course the seeming global supplies shortage?

Joey: The first batch is expected to arrive on time in May and June. I was assured that these are on schedule and we will get the weekly arrival schedule soon for all of the AstraZeneca vaccines. The second batch is still on schedule for the third quarter, this has nothing to do with what is happening in Europe because the vaccines will come from Thailand.

Jester: How about the Novavax vaccines?

Joey: The Novavax vaccines will be arriving in the third and fourth quarter. Also, with Covaxin from Bharat Biotech from India. They promise to deliver one million doses by May and June. They tried their best to make it as early as April, but the EUA of Covaxin is still to come out and hopefully, this will come out this April.

Jester: All right, at least at the moment you’re expecting the first batch to arrive by May. By then, should we be expecting immediate roll out of the vaccine? And how exactly are you planning to inoculate the private sector here, will this be in coordination with the health department or partner hospitals?

Joey: Yes, this will be in coordination with the health department. We already have an execution plan and we have decided to go with Zuellig as our logistics provider—which to my mind is very critical, so they are already in the planning process with all the different private sector companies under this initiative, which is good. I am encouraged with our current developments and the private sector companies are free to choose their provider as to who will handle the inoculation of their employees. They can talk to providers like Makati Medical Center, Unilab, QualiMed of Ayala, and many others.

Jester: Lastly, now getting vaccines is one thing, but getting the employees vaccinated is another. What are the sentiments here in the sector, is the hesitancy high among private workers and employees?

Joey: The acceptance level was low in the beginning. Many companies are challenged with that, so to convince our employees, the supervisosr, managers, executives and even the owners were allowed, together with their families, to be vaccinated. This is to create confidence among the employees—seeing their bosses and their families being vaccinated. Kung low 40s to 50s before, we are at 90 percent now.

So we intend to really campaign harder so everybody will want to take the vaccines,and I think that is possible with forums and webinars. Just recently, we had a vaccine forum entitled “Bakit Bakuna,” which sought to answer questions and address misconceptions on the vaccine and vaccination. We formed some agreements with companies so that they can show these types of forums and webinars to their employees—inviting employees and companies to join such sessions and understand why it is important to take the vaccine. I am confident that there will be a high take up from the private sector. Also, all these vaccines will be given free for all employees.

We also advised them that the donation for the government will be directed towards the National Capital Region and will be focused on the sector of micro and small entrepreneurs – from the sari-sari store vendors, to the palengke vendors, tricycle drivers, jeepneys drivers, and street vendors, everyone that belongs to the category of micro and small entrepreneurs, which comprise about more than 90 percent of our business community who can’t buy the vaccine.

With Johnson Manabat on the vaccines and the micro and small sector

Johnson: Sir Joey, pwede natin ipagpalagay na by the first week of May, may mga mababakunahan na sa private sector na mga manggagawa?

Joey: Yung schedule darating sa amin after Holy Week. Malalaman namin yan kung anong week, pero malamang it’s not the first week, maybe second or third week.

Johnson: Ang karamihan po ba sa pinapasok na kasunduan ng mga private sector ay sa AstraZeneca at sa Moderna. How about po sa Sinovac, meron din po ba kayong alam na nakikipag deal with Sinovac?

Joey: Yung Sinovac are with the Filipino-Chinese Chamber, sila ang nagpapasok ng 500,000 doses para sa grupo nila. Hindi ko alam kung magdadagdag pa sila, pero sa amin, we have secured AstraZeneca and Moderna with Mr. Razon. Another is Novavax at Covaxin, Novavax is from America and it will be manufactured in India, at yung Covaxin is from Bharat Biotech of India. Ito yung mga bagong pinapasok rin.

Johnson: Sir Joey, meron lang patanong dito. Kasi hindi po ba under ECQ pa rin tayo ngayon at maraming mga establishments ang sarado pa rin. Pero still halimbawa po, yung maliliit na nagnenegosyo sa mga malls tuloy ang kanilang bayad sa renta, yung iba ay pasweldo sa tao pero wala naman pong mga customer, walang pumapasok na kita, labas nang labas ang mga pera sa negosyanteng maliliit. Anong assistance ang pwede po nilang makuha mula sa gobyerno?

Joey: Dito sa nangyari sa mga malls naman, in fairness sa mga may-ari ng mga malls, binigyan sila ng malaking diskwento sa renta. Kung yung day na sarado ang malls, syempre deducted ang rental diyan, hindi sila magbabayad ng renta. Sa mga trabahante nila, syempre no work, no pay kasi maliit na negosyante lang sila at hindi nila kaya.

Talagang malaki ang epekto nito sa mga negosyo at trabahante pero at least itong Holy Week talagang medyo matumal ang negosyo. Pati halos sa mga corporation namin, sarado kasi Easter week ito, a week for prayer. Pero pagkatapos nitong Holy Week, sinasabi nilang titignan nila kung bumababa yung infection o tumataas. May posibilidad na i-extend pa ng isa pang week.

Sa aking pananaw kung tumataas pa ang infection, siguro kailangan i-extend for another week para hindi masayang ang ginawa natin nitong huling linggo, kaya may posibilidad na ma-extend kung tuloy ang pagtaas ng infection. Pero kung sa tingin nila bumababa na, baka hanggang itong week na lang ito. Malalaman natin based on the cases.

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