Enrique Razon to Help Fund Philippines' COVID Vaccine Purchases

The private sector is joining the vaccine rush.
An undated handout picture released by the University of Oxford on Nov. 23, 2020 shows a technician working at the Jenner Institute on the University's COVID-19 candidate vaccine, known as AZD1222, co-invented by the University of Oxford and Vaccitech.
Photo/s: Agence France-Presse

Ports billionaire Enrique Razon will help the government buy COVID-19 vaccines, which could arrive as early as the second quarter of 2021, an executive of his company said Tuesday.

Razon will shoulder the full cost of a portion of the country's vaccine requirement, half of which will be given to employees of his conglomerate while the remainder will be reserved for port and customs employees and logistics frontliners, said Christian Razon Gonzalez, executive vice president of International Container Terminal Services Inc.

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The vaccines will be sourced from the UK's Astra Zeneca, Gonzalez told a government briefing. The Philippines has programmed an initial procurement of 60 million vaccines, of which 2 million will be brought in by the private sector, he said.

"This is just a way for us to contribute to the effort of the national government," he said.

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President Rodrigo Duterte's administration is in talks with three pharmaceutical firms working on COVID-19 vaccines, said the Philippines' vaccine czar, Sec. Carlito Galvez.

The Philippines plans to prioritize poor families, health workers, and law enforcers in its COVID-19 vaccination program, he said.

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