Palace: Private firms may buy COVID-19 vaccines via tripartite agreement

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace: Private firms may buy COVID-19 vaccines via tripartite agreement
A city hall employee (L) takes part in a vaccination simulation in Manila on January 19, 2021, ahead of the expected arrival of COVID-19 coronavirus vaccines in the capital city next month.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — All private firms are now allowed to buy COVID-19 vaccines but the procurement will still have to be done through a tripartite agreement involving the supplier and the national government, Malacañang said Monday.

Some senators have scored an alleged proposal to bar manufacturers of tobacco, soda, breast milk substitutes, and other "unhealthy" products from importing COVID-19 jabs, calling it "discriminatory" and "downright evil."

The proposal is reportedly contained in a draft administrative order of the health department.

"All private companies, including cigarette companies, can now purchase vaccines, according to the amended implementing rules and regulations of RA (Republic Act) No. 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Law, subject to the tripartite agreement with the private sector," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

"We cannot do away with the tripartite agreement because while all companies can already buy vaccines for their employees, we still don't have commercially-available vaccines," he added.

Roque noted that the COVID-19 jabs have only been granted Emergency Use Authorizations so the national government still has to be involved in the procurement. He reiterated that the distribution of more COVID-19 vaccines would be beneficial to the country.

With regard to the confusion over the supposed requirement for private companies to donate half of the COVID-19 shots they will buy to the government, Roque said the matter has to be clarified by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr.

He said the COVID-19 vaccination law has no provision requiring companies to donate 50% of the vaccines they will purchase but the item is present in the tripartite agreement.

"The tripartite agreement, the model form, can be amended as a result of the passage of the law. So let's wait for it," Roque said.

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