Vaccine-induced business pickup | Inquirer Business
While the other Asean countries Indonesia, Laos and Singapore have started vaccinating their citizens with the COVID-19 vaccine, and Malaysia and Thailand are on the same path this month, the Philippines are not yet sure about the vaccine delivery date ordered by various pharmaceutical companies.
Carlito Galvez Jr., the government contact for the national vaccination program, apologized for the delay in procurement and cited the lack of control of the supply chain.
Previously, he said delivery of the vaccine, made by Pfizer, has stalled due to the latter’s request for a law that would compensate recipients of the vaccine if they suffered serious side effects.
This bill is still pending in Congress and President Duterte has confirmed it as urgent. Hopefully if this law is passed there will be no further problems that could further delay the delivery of the vaccines.
According to reports, China’s donation of its home-grown vaccine would be delivered once the Food and Drug Administration approves its use.
In other words, the Philippines are waiting for the vaccines, which are expected to minimize, if not eliminate, the spread of the virus that has caused misery for millions of people around the world.
These vaccines aren’t cheap, so the government is using the Asian Development Bank and other international credit institutions to raise the funds it needs to achieve 70 percent “herd immunity” or vaccinate at least 77 million Filipinos.
How this level will be achieved alone or in coordination with the private sector and local government entity has not yet been announced.
The delay in the delivery of the vaccines has contributed to the pessimistic mood in the country.
The economy is in recession and government economic executives previously voiced concerns that the adverse effects of this economic climate would continue until mid-year.
With thousands of businesses closed due to the pandemic, more than 7.3 million Filipinos have been made jobless to date. That number doesn’t include the thousands of overseas Filipino workers forced to return home due to COVID-19 causes.
The laws put in place to stimulate the economy seem to have failed to achieve their goal. In honor of the government, their infrastructure projects (or the remnants of their “Build, Build, Build” program) have brought some economic relief.
Delivering the vaccines and vaccinating those who need them would be a morale booster for a public unsure of what the future will be if the country continues to grapple with the virus.
Next month it would be a year since the government put different levels of quarantine in different parts of the country.
Knowing that vaccines are available to minimize infection would give Filipinos confidence to gradually return to their prepandemic way of life or do business while adhering to protocols to prevent the virus from spreading.
If the government is seen as being honest about reaching levels of herd immunity, people with funds would be encouraged to spend or circulate more money and help get the country out of recession.
And when business people or entrepreneurs realize that their goods or services have potential markets or are optimistic about renewed consumer activity, they would have the incentive to renew the operation or expand the business and hire additional staff to meet increasing consumer demand become.
This does not mean that the vaccine would be the silver bullet for the economic troubles the country is currently going through.
It would be just one of many measures the government must take to alleviate the suffering COVID-19 has caused people.
In the meantime, let’s keep our fingers crossed that South Sudan and other poverty-stricken African countries are not ahead of the Philippines on vaccination. That would really take the cake. INQ
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