Local firms to buy 6 million COVID-19 vaccine jabs, says Duterte adviser

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2021 01:49 PM | Updated as of Jan 11 2021 03:10 PM

Local firms to buy 6 million COVID-19 vaccine jabs, says Duterte adviser 1
A healthcare worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at the Pentland Medical Practice, in Currie, Scotland, Britain Jan. 7, 2021. Russell Cheyne, Pool, Reuters

MANILA — Local firms will shoulder the cost of around 6 million vaccine doses against COVID-19 from UK drugs group AstraZeneca, an adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday, as the Philippines raced to secure a supply of the jabs. 

Thirty-five of the country's biggest corporations earlier signed a supply deal for 2.6 million doses of the AstraZeneca. The firm allotted more of its vaccine supply to the Philippines, allowing "over 200" local companies to order more doses, said Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

"May mga maliiit na negosyante dito... The total number of doses from batch 1 and batch 2, will approximately be about 6 million," he said in a public briefing. "That will be good for 3 million people." 

(This includes small businessmen.)

The firms will sign a supply deal with AstraZeneca on Thursday. They will use half of the jabs for their own employees, and donate the rest to the government, Concepcion said. 

The first doses from AstraZeneca are expected to start arriving in May or June, he said. 

"That gives enough time for the government to prepare," he added. 

The focus right now of the private sector is to help the government sa (with the) vaccine."

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