Public-private partnership sought in PH vaccine rollout
MANILA - The Philippines' vaccination program is "doable" in 2 years if government partners with the private sector, the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation said Thursday.
The country has so far signed only one supply deal so far— the 2.6 million shots from AstraZeneca with the help of private sector. It plans to secure 20 million more doses from the British drugmaker, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said.
The Philippines formally began negotiations with American vaccine development firm Novavax on Wednesday.
The private sector can help pool resources, purchase the vaccine with government and inoculate its workers to ease the state's burden, said PDRF chief resilience officer Guillermo Luz.
"I think it’s doable in 2 years if we have this public-private partnership... After we purchase the vaccines, allow the private sector to vaccinate workers, MSMes (micro, small, and medium enterprise) contractors, subcontractors, families of workers, so whoever the private sector vaccinates, that reduces the burden of government to vaccinate," he told ANC's Dateline Philippines.
"This can be compressed to 2 years but only if we have this combined effort."
Some 100 to 120 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine within the first year is ideal, Luz said.
"I think the first phase has to be targeted within the first year and then it will be stretched out over the succeeding years. We need to think 3 to 5 years on the assumption we need booster shots but I think we need to be looking at 100 to 120 million doses at least in year 1," he said.
Some P2.5 billion is earmarked for the country's vaccination program under the health department. Another P70 billion in standby funds would be added from either approved loans or once the government exceeds its non-tax revenue targets. The stimulus plan Bayanihan 2 puts another P10 billion to the vaccine budget.