The private sector has been playing a major role in the vaccine rollout in Cebu City.
Since the City Government launched its vaccination drive for individuals 60 years old and above on Monday, April 19, 2021, the vaccination sites have all been private establishments: Robinsons Galleria in the North Reclamation Area, the University of Cebu Banilad campus and the SM Seaside City at the South Road Properties.
On Thursday, April 22, the City said it would open another vaccination site at the SM City Cebu, a kilometer away from the Robinsons Galleria.
The City is set to sign a memorandum of agreement with SM, which, according to Marissa Fernan, vice president of SM Prime Holdings, will continue to serve the community “in good times, in difficult times.”
Robinsons Malls had also announced that more of its branches nationwide would open their doors as it continues to be dedicated in its commitment to fight the battle against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) by helping the government’s vaccination program.
The fact that three of the vaccination sites are malls is no coincidence.
Not only are malls found in strategic locations in the city, they also offer large and clean spaces, as well as accessibility.
For many of the senior citizens who have been cooped up inside their houses for the better part of last year as a result of government restrictions to protect them against infection, the mall will allow them to sightsee and stretch their muscles, thereby easing their anxiety before and after receiving the first dose of the two-dose vaccine.
For SM, Robinsons and UC, they are giving back to the community, which is one of the ways corporations and business groups define corporate social responsibility. They create shared value because they believe that business and society are interdependent.
No doubt this is the time for solidarity.
The government needs all the help it can get to address the economic consequences of the pandemic. With the private sector by its side, it has a better chance of digging its way out of the economic hole the country and Cebu City have found themselves in.
Of course, the quicker this is done, the faster it is for the business sector to recoup losses it has incurred since the start of the health crisis more than a year ago.