A Wave That Will Bring Hope

From the success of the first part of the “A Dose of Hope” project, which secured 2.6 million doses of vaccine for the country, I am glad that AstraZeneca gave us another batch under the same tripartite model. Moreover, it came as great news that the initiative created a wave amongst our LGUs and now, a total of 39 LGUs have joined our cause to secure vaccines for the country.

For this second part of the “A Dose of Hope,” more than 300 companies have joined and donated around three million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. With this procurement, our efforts have already secured close to six million doses for the country.

The arrangement will be the same as the first part. All the donations will be given to the Department of Health, which will handle the distribution. Fifty percent will be given to our public frontliners and the other 50 percent will be given to our employees from the private sector – given that they fall under the government’s list of priority sectors.

To make this development public and spread the hope to everyone, today at 12:30 pm, a ceremonial signing for the “A Dose of Hope, Wave 2” will be held. Our ceremonial signing will be graced by our vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., Lotis Ramin of AstraZeneca, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Ambassador Daniel Pruce of the British Embassy, our private sector donors, and virtually by President Duterte and Sen. Bong Go. We will also be joined by our local executives from participating LGUs that will procure the AstraZeneca vaccine. The program will be moderated by Go Negosyo senior adviser and Project ARK lead, Josephine Romero.

In the numerous interviews that I’ve had, I was constantly updating every one of our constant effort to procure vaccines for the country – be it AstraZeneca or other vaccine providers. We even created and optimized the tripartite agreement model for everyone to use, as what we all want is to really secure vaccines for the country, especially for our priority sectors and those that need it the most.

Through our journey from the first part of the “A Dose of Hope” to today with the second part, I assure everyone that we are not stopping and will happily continue to talk with vaccine providers until every one of us is secured of a vaccine. The LGUs’ move to procure the vaccine is a huge step forward. It will ease the load on the national government and the private sector will continue to help where help is needed.

Looking at our situation as a war against COVID-19, we are near to winning the war. Our PPEs protected us and made it possible for us to co-exist with the virus. Our testing gave us visibility against this invisible opponent and gave us enough information against the virus. Expecting that the roll-out of the vaccine will take time, our efforts on improving testing methods – for this weapon to be more cost-effective and available to everyone – continues.

The DOH just recently approved our research on pooled swab testing – under Department Memorandum No. 2020-0539. Pioneering successive COVID-19 testing innovations, we are now testing the efficacy and cost-effectivity of saliva-based testing and pooled saliva-based testing. This method will be more convenient because it is painless and no swabbers are needed to extract samples. Dr. Lo also mentioned that overall, it would save a lot of time, effort, and resources. It needs fewer PPEs, eliminates the need for swab kits and extraction machines, and reduces interaction.

On the vaccine,  we are asking AstraZeneca for a third part, which is unlikely due to the demand around the world. We will try our best and trust the judgment of AstraZeneca as the local representatives of AstraZeneca are doing their utmost to secure supplies for our country.

With all these updates and continuous good news for our country, let us continue to be optimistic. We have endured this virus for almost a year now and the ultimate weapon is already within our grasp.

The ceremonial signing will be held at RFM Corporate Center (JoeCon Hall). Catch the ceremonial signing live on Go Negosyo’s Facebook page, Jan. 14 at 12:30 pm.