SM Group buys 600,000 COVID-19 jabs, 'portion' to be donated to government

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 19 2021 10:48 AM | Updated as of Apr 19 2021 11:28 AM

Community frontliners and barangay health workers receive COVID-19 shots at the Placido Del Mundo Elementary School, Quirino Highway, Barangay Talipapa, Quezon City, March 23, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The SM Group has ordered 600,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which are expected to arrive in the country by the third quarter of 2021, an official said Monday.

The SM Group ordered COVID-19 jabs from AstraZeneca, Sinovac and Moderna, SM Supermalls president Steven Tan told ANC's Headstart.

"As soon as it is available for us, we will start rolling it out," he said.

"I believe it will arrive sometime in the third quarter," he said.

So far, only half of SM employees have agreed to be vaccinated, Tan said.

"Half or a portion" of SM's 600,000 jabs will be donated to the national government, Tan said.

Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte allowed private companies to procure COVID-19 vaccines for their employees after the Philippines saw a spike in new cases a year since the virus was first detected in the country.

Reports that the national government supposedly required private firms to donate half of their COVID-19 vaccine orders to the government surfaced online, but a Palace official denied the allegations.

British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca required Philippine firms procuring its COVID-19 jabs to donate to the government half of the doses they would procure, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, earlier said.

"Sila po ang nag-demand, hindi po ang national government," he said.

(They demanded that, not the government.)

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