THE DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry (DTI) is gathering information from small businesses to potentially include them in the government’s vaccination program.
Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a briefing on Friday that the DTI is in talks with different groups, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who are looking to buy coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines.
The government will then include their requirements among those ordered from manufacturers.
“’Yun po ang nililikom ng Department of Trade and Industry para din po dito sa mga SMEs na gustong magkaroon ng allocation at bumili rin po sila. (The DTI is gathering information from SMEs that want an allocation and buy vaccines),” he said.
Mr. Lopez said in a Viber message to reporters that the department is drawing up guidelines, which it will announce next week.
The Philippines is in talks with seven vaccine manufacturers for 148 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate 50-70 million Filipinos this year.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito G. Galvez said that the government vaccine program will prioritize healthcare workers, uniformed personnel, teachers and school workers, government workers, overseas Filipino workers, and other essential workers.
The government will also prioritize indigent senior citizens, poor communities, students, and people with comorbidities.
Meanwhile, larger firms have started ordering vaccine doses in advance. Outsourcing company Alorica Philippines partnered with the government to secure access to the AstraZeneca vaccine, ordering 80,000 doses for its employees and other Filipinos.
“Alorica employees who…participate will have the vaccine administered by licensed healthcare providers, with costs covered by the Alorica,” the company said in a statement on Friday. — Jenina P. Ibañez