Government to cover vaccination of MSME workers–DTI

DTI chief Ramon Lopez

The government has ceased collecting vaccine orders for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on the promise that the state’s procurement would be enough to cover the entirety of the population.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez on Wednesday announced the government terminated efforts to collect vaccine orders from MSMEs. He said only 10 MSMEs have so far reserved for shots, and their requirements are of “minimal quantity.”

Likewise, Lopez argued the government is purchasing enough for the whole of population, and that it can cover MSMEs and their workers.

“Not too much submitted,” Lopez said in a text message. “Latest from vaccine committee is we suspended the consolidation since there will be more than enough government purchases and current tripartite agreements to cover vaccination of all frontliners, including economic frontliners and workers.”

In January Lopez said the trade department would consolidate orders for vaccine doses placed by MSMEs as part of efforts to acquire shots for members of the private sector.

According to Lopez, the orders made by MSMEs would be collated and would be included in the country’s purchase from vaccine manufacturers abroad. He said it would also ensure even the smallest of firms will be given access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The government is eyeing to bring in 148 million doses to vaccinate at least 70 million people, as it pins its hopes on the program to boost the economic recovery for the country.

The government had secured an agreement with China’s Sinovac Biotech for the supply of 25 million doses of its vaccine. The first batch of 50,000 shots are slated to arrive here in February, and the rest of the order will come in from March to December.

Authorities are also negotiating with pharmaceutical giants AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer, as well as Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, for the purchase of the vaccines they created.

On Monday Presidential Spokesman Harry L. Roque Jr. announced the initial batch of Covid-19 vaccines from international sharing scheme COVAX is scheduled to arrive in the Philippines by middle of this month. He assured the government is ready to roll out its vaccination program once the shots have been brought in.


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