SMEs told to coordinate with DTI for COVID-19 vaccines

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 15 2021 09:51 PM

This picture shows a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in a Red Cross medical tent in Petrinja, Croatia on Dec. 29, 2020. Damir Sencar, AFP/File

MANILA - Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) seeking to get COVID-19 vaccines for their employees can coordinate with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. said Friday.

According to the chief implementer of National Task Force on COVID-19, DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez has agreed to the proposal SMEs can acquire vaccines through the agency and Go Negosyo, the country's advocacy group for entrepreneurs.

“May SMEs na gusto kumuha ng vaccine at some businessmen gusto mag-donate, so napagkasunduan namin pwede siya (Lopez and DTI) magconsolidate through DTI, and through Go Negosyo,” Galvez said after Sen. Risa Hontiveros asked him about the mechanism for SMEs' vaccine procurement during the Senate's hearing on the national vaccination program. 

No further details or the availability of an existing SME template was bared. 

Some major companies have entered into agreement with British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca for the procurement of 17 million coronavirus vaccine doses, 50 percent of which will be shared with government.

Meanwhile, the use of schools for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines was suggested by Sen. Ralph Recto during Friday’s hearing.

Recto said over 45,000 schools are available since face-to-face classes remain suspended in light of the pandemic.

“Why not do it like an election? Hindi ginagamit ngayon yung mga eskwelahan natin,” Recto said.

He also proposed to designate separate days for female and male vaccine recipients to make sure physical distancing will be observed during the inoculation.

Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said the national task force will seriously consider the suggestion.

Recto raised the proposal following Duque’s statement that it will take 18 days to finish the vaccination of every 24.6 million recipients, with the current plan to make use of barangay health centers and hospitals as vaccination areas.

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