MANILA (UPDATE) - Port magnate Enrique Razon on Thursday said the private sector would receive some 70,000 COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna next month, which account for only 1 percent of the total 7 million vaccines conglomerates have ordered from the pharmaceutical giant.
Moderna said the vaccines would arrive by the week of June 21, Razon told ANC's Headstart.
"As soon as it arrives, we want to start inoculation right away," he said.
The private sector has already paid $93 million (P4.45 billion) for these vaccines, he said.
"The government will have to pay more because the government's order is 13 million [jabs]," he said.
The Philippines earlier allowed private firms to enter into a tripartite agreement so that they could procure vaccines for their respective employees.
Last month, National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said that the Philippines would get 194,000 doses of Moderna's jab this month.
Razon did not say why the number of initial doses from Moderna was reduced, and why the delivery date was pushed back.
Companies who have bought vaccines will also have to prioritize giving the shots to the elderly and persons with comorbidities, Razon said.
"The companies part of the consortium will vaccinate their employees following those priorities," he said.
Razon, whose group is building a mega vaccination hub in Parañaque, said he hopes to procure more vaccines by the end of the year.
"I think supply won't be as tight anymore then," he said.
"By the end of the year, the country will have to buy booster shots," he added.
Several conglomerates are willing to spend millions for these vaccines, Razon said.
Every time Metro Manila and Calabarzon are placed on a lockdown, "the economy is losing about P16-17 billion a day," he said.
"The cost of vaccines is immaterial compared to the loss in the economy. That's why we need to ramp up vaccination," he said.
"It's really opening the economy to get back to growth, and we cannot open the economy under these circumstances where the pandemic is still raging," he said.
The Philippines hopes to inoculate between 50 million and 70 million Filipinos to achieve herd immunity this year.
So far, only 500,000 have received 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while another 2 million have been inoculated with the initial dose.