The Daily Manila Shimbun


DTI approaches SMEs for possible purchase of COVID-19 vaccines

January 15, 2021

The Department of Trade and Industry is talking to the small and medium enterprises to determine if they are also interested to order vaccines against coronavirus similar to other private big companies, which entered into a tripartite agreement with the government and the pharmaceutical company, an official said on Friday.

In the "Laging Handa" public briefing, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said National Task Force Against COVID-19 and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. had requested the DTI to help consolidating orders of COVID-19 vaccines from the SMEs who could be interested.

"So, that is what the DTI is now gathering, talking to different groups if they are interested to buy so that we can consolidate their requirements and volume in order for Secretary Galvez to include in the order with the vaccine manufacturers," he said.

The government has also partnered with the huge companies as well as the local government units for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines from United Kingdom's AstraZeneca.

Through the multilateral deals, the Philippines has already placed orders of nearly 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the British pharmaceutical company.

Meanwhile, in a radio interview, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said bulk of the doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca is expected to arrive only by 2022.

"We will be fortunate if we can get some supply from AstraZeneca by July, but bulk of the deliveries of AstraZeneca will be in 2022," he said.

He said those who could be healthy might still wait for Astrazeneca's vaccine.

But with the new strain of coronavirus, Roque said that it would be better not have another vaccine.

"If I were you, it's better to be inoculated already because it's better to have protection than nothing at all," he said.

Roque is one of the government officials who has been supporting China's Sinovac vaccine.

The government has secured 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Sinovac, with initial delivery of 50,000 doses next month. Celerina Monte/DMS