Businesses in Cebu working to secure vaccines for employees

Johanna O. Bajenting
·3 min read

MAJOR business chambers in Cebu are now working on securing vaccine doses against Covid-19 for their employees.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam said they participated in the vaccine procurement through the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Go Negosyo project of Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

“The groups have already done four seminars with the big vaccine makers accepting pre-order status. Many companies have signed up and taken part in the reservation of the vaccines,” he said.

He noted companies are still waiting for the actual delivery dates amid pending suppliers’ documentation and authorization.

“All these companies that ordered the doses are for their employees’ use. With the arrival of Sinovac, we hope this will signal for other vaccines to come also. The sooner, the better,” he said.

At least 7,200 Sinovac doses were transported to Cebu via a Philippine Airlines flight on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Steven Yu said more than 100 companies have signed up for private initiatives to secure Covid-19 vaccines.

“Aside from the big companies who joined the ‘A Dose Of Hope’ of Secretary Concepcion, the MCCI is probably one of the few lead business groups that partnered with International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) in procuring Moderna vaccines for its member and affiliate companies,” he said.

While the MCCI has secured a firm allocation from ICTSI, ICTSI has yet to sign the tripartite agreement with Moderna in relation to the concerned allocation.

“These are purely non-profit and corporate social responsibility endeavors of the MCCI. These are the updates as of this writing. ICTSI is firm on its commitment to help vaccinate the Philippine population, and help the country attain herd immunity. As they say, ‘No one is safe until everyone is safe,’” he said.

Yu said they can’t reveal how many doses are in the process of being procured due to confidentiality agreements. But he noted that companies, big and small combined, are willing to procure at least 100,000 doses for their employees.

Filipino Cebuano Business Club chairman Rey Calooy, on the other hand, said they will wait for the government to procure more vaccines.

“We will stay posted for any advisories coming from the government because we know that the process must be authorized by them first,” he said.

Voluntary, highly encouraged

Meanwhile, the business leaders said it is up to the employees if they will participate in their company’s vaccination program.

But they said it is highly encouraged.

“It’s the employees’ decision. I would suggest that employees take the vaccines because companies are really investing in employee training and others,” Taguiam said.

He said part of the process is to make sure that all are vaccinated to protect each other in the workplace so the economy can keep on going.

Yu said they already informed their members that vaccination should be voluntary.

“We, in MCCI, have informed our members that vaccination is voluntary, and minimum health protocols should still be followed. They are free and encouraged to do information awareness to their employees on the positive effects of the vaccine,” he said.

Calooy also said vaccination remains voluntary and not mandatory, adding that it is up to the employees to weigh the pros and cons of having themselves vaccinated against Covid-19.