A DOSE OF HOPE PROGRAM.  The national government, local government units, and the private sector sign a deal with AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company to acquire another 17 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine. Present in the physical memorandum of agreement signing on Jan. 14, 2020 are (left to right) British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, National Task Force Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, and AstraZeneca Philippines Country President Lotis Ramin. (Screengrab from RTVM Malacañang)

MANILA –The country has secured another 17 million doses of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines from British-Swedish pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.
 
The Philippine government, local government units (LGUs), private sector donors, and AstraZeneca signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Thursday to secure additional doses of coronavirus vaccine as the country prepares for its immunization program this year.
 
“AstraZeneca maintains our strong commitment to ensuring equitable access to the vaccine at no profit for the duration of the pandemic,” AstraZeneca Philippines country president Lotis Ramin said at a private sector-led A Dose of Hope program.
 
A Dose of Hope program is an initiative of the private sector, led by Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, to donate Covid-19 vaccines.
 
In November 2020, more than 30 members of the private sector also committed to donate 2.6 million Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca.
 
In the second wave of the donation, more than 300 private sector donors committed to shoulder the acquisition of more vaccines from the European pharmaceutical company.
 
“We are working closely with regulatory authorities to ensure that the Covid-19 vaccine lives up to the highest safety standards and its introduction complies with healthcare regulations in the Philippines,” Ramin said.
 
She said AstraZeneca is currently working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “on the preparations for a swift yet thorough science-led Emergency Use Authorization review”.
 
Further, Concepcion said the demand for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine from the private sector and the LGUs is immense.
 
“These vaccines are really the way forward in helping our Filipino people save lives and livelihoods,” he said.
 
Concepcion also thanked National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. for allowing the LGUs to be involved in procurement for AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
 
“The Philippines definitely will not be left behind in this fight. We will be vaccinating our Filipino people hopefully starting June (or) July,” he said.
 
Meanwhile, 33 out of 39 LGUs were present during the signing of MOA to acquire AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine.
 
These include Caloocan City, Makati City, Mandaluyong City, Manila, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Pasay City, Pasig City, Quezon City, San Juan City, Valenzuela City, and Las Piñas from the National Capital Region.
 
Also present during the signing of the deal were the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Quirino, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental, as well as LGUs of Baguio City, Dagupan City, San Nicolas in Pangasinan, Puerto Princesa City, Pulilan in Bulacan, Sta. Rosa City in Laguna, Taal in Batangas, Vigan, Ormoc City, Palompon in Leyte, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, Davao City, Oroquieta City, and Zamboanga City. (PNA)