Private sector eyes funding jab rollout

PRESIDENTIAL Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion 3rd on Saturday announced that the private sector was prepared to fund its own vaccination program, recognizing that such initiative could help facilitate a safe reopening of the economy and initiate its recovery by the final quarter of the year.

Jose Maria Concepcion 3rd. File photo

In a statement, Concepcion said the private sector unanimously agreed that Zuellig would be its partner in its rollout of its procured AstraZeneca coronavirus jabs, from the acquisition of the vaccines to the logistic costs for the smooth distribution of these life-saving drugs.

He said it was “necessary to partner with the best as this is the only way to ensure an effective and efficient rollout.”

“The private sector agreed that it is best to have a logistic partner with a strong market coverage and equipped with the latest technology from a strong blockchain technology, latest cold chain facilities, and a strong end-to-end program, among others,” Concepcion, also founder of Go Negosyo, said in a statement.

Under “A Dose of Hope” program, Concepcion said the private sector was expected to forge a tripartite deal with Zuellig and the government to formalize the logistics partnership for the vaccine rollout.

Through this, Concepcion said he was hoping and looking forward to a smooth and faster implementation as “this is a critical factor for opening the economy more and safer despite the current surge.”

“The private sector is willing to pay for everything. In our town hall meeting last Thursday with the AstraZeneca donors, all companies agreed to fund and pay for the logistics cost of the vaccine rollout,” Concepcion said.

“Our premise here is economic recovery. Economic recovery should start in the last quarter provided that no major lockdowns are set in place and that the rollout of the vaccine will be at a lightning speed,” he added.

This initiative is on top of Concepcion’s “A Dose of Hope,” which secured the country 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“When we decided to buy the vaccines, that’s on the idea of saving both lives and livelihoods. We know that the vaccines are the only solution for this pandemic and when it was made available by AstraZeneca some time in October and November, the big conglomerates pitched in despite the risk since it was not yet approved by MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) and our own FDA (Food and Drug Administration) at that time,” Concepcion said.

He said they were expecting the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive by May to June.

Concepcion said the private sector wanted to help the government “so that we can execute the vaccine rollout in the fastest and most efficient way possible.”

“Extending our help to the government, we will also pay for the logistics and rollout for the government’s frontline workers that will be covered by our donations. Allowing us to execute, we could focus on the vaccination of our employees, the LGUs (local government units) could focus on its constituents, and the national government could focus on the rest that are not covered,” he said.

“We need a fast and almost perfect rollout, and the private sector could do this for its
employees,” Concepcion added.

The country is expected to continuously receive its remaining doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Covax Facility following the first batch and second batch which was received just a few weeks ago.

This will also be augmented by the arrival of the donation from the private sector through the “A Dose of Hope” initiative of Concepcion and Go Negosyo — a program that pioneered the tripartite agreement which connected the private sector, the public sector, and vaccine manufacturers.

This initiative is expected to provide the country a total of 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.