MANILA - Government no longer needs the private sector's donation of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines set to arrive in February next year, an official said Tuesday.
Government and a group of private firms had procured 17 million doses of AstraZeneca's coronavirus jab, with an agreement that half would be donated to the public sector.
A batch of some 1.17 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine will arrive on July 14, and another 1.17 million doses on August 14, said presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, who led the procurement.
"(Vaccine czar) Secretary (Carlito) Galvez two or three weeks ago told me that there’s no need for us to donate anymore. I asked him why and he said government will have sufficient doses. Those doses arriving next year February, really no impact at this point in time," he told ANC's Headstart.
"That’s for sure and I made double sure with Galvez yesterday."
The jabs that are supposed to be donated to the public sector can be offered to families of employees or as a booster or third dose next year, according to Concepcion.
"Yes, the private sector is allowed to pass the cost of the vaccines... to the employee’s spouse and children," he said.
"The AstraZeneca vaccines, if there's no donation required, that's only $5 per dose. That's only basically P250, that's very cheap. Many companies are giving it one year to pay, some are giving it 50 percent discount on top of the cost."
The private sector will also support priority vaccinations in Metro Manila and 8 other key economic hubs, Concepcion added.
"The focus of private sector is really support NCR (National Capital Region) Plus 8. To achieve herd immunity you have to focus your vaccines in the areas where the highest level of infection is and that's the NCR+8," he said.
NCR Plus 8 includes Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal.
The Philippines aims to vaccinate 500,000 people daily in NCR+8 to achieve herd immunity by November 27, Galvez earlier said.
As of June 6, over 1.5 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to DOH data. Government has been inoculating an average 112,621 people daily in the past 7 days, it said.