COVID-19 Crisis: Go Negosyo Founder says that private hospitals can be deputized to procure and administer bivalent vaccines

Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion is back in the news. This time, he emphasized that private hospitals can be helpful in the nation’s recovery from COVID-19 with regards to procuring and administering vaccines to patients who can afford them and are willing to pay for them, the Manila Bulletin reported.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

A former presidential economic adviser on Thursday, Nov. 3, underscored the key role of private hospitals in procuring and administering bivalent Covid-19 vaccines to those who are willing to pay for them.

Amid the plans of the Marcos administration to procure a limited number of bivalent vaccines, which provide broader protection against the original Covid-19 and a component of the Omicron variant, Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said that private hospitals can be deputized by the government to procure and administer the bivalent vaccines.

He stated this as he estimated that the government will bring in a limited number of vaccines considering that it is still assessing how much it can procure and how much can be delivered.

The 10 million doses, or however much the government decides to buy, will of course be set aside for the priority sectors, namely the elderly, the immunocompromised and those with comorbidities; but there may be others outside of these priority sectors who would also want the bivalent vaccines,” Concepcion said.

Since all private hospitals are capable of handling vaccinations and all can explore agreements with the government as part of the private sector, he raised the idea of allowing private hospitals to procure the bivalent vaccines and administer them to those who want to pay for them.

Dr. Benjamin Co, chief medical officer of Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, agreed with the ex-economic adviser’s proposal.

I think the best option is to make it available for a fee or at cost. For those who can very well afford it, they can get it from private clinics that offer this and we can charge an administration fee plus the cost of the vaccine,” he said in a statement.

He added that bivalent vaccinations can also become part of the private hospitals’ corporate social responsibility efforts.

“The remaining free vaccines can be appropriated to the rest of the Filipinos who cannot afford this but would like to get vaccinated,” Co suggested.

Recruiting help from the private sector will also unburden the government and allow it to focus on the vulnerable sectors of society, according to Vaccine Experts Panel member Dr. Rontgene Solante, who is also the chairman of Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at San Lazaro Hospital.

“Private sector involvement is another important layer to achieve higher vaccine accessibility and coverage,” he said.

“This is critical especially with waning interest in booster doses of Covid vaccines. Government should always find ways to engage with the private sector, which has been an important partner of DOH (Department of Health) during the pandemic,” Solante added.

Bivalent Covid vaccines provide broader protection against Covid-19 and better protection against its Omicron variant.

However, all Covid-19 vaccines are still under Emergency Use Authorization, which means only the government can procure and administer the vaccines.

In order to sell the vaccines to the public, vaccine manufacturers need a Certificate of Product Registration (CPR).

As you can in the above article, key steps and legal changes are needed in order to pave the way for private hospitals to get deputized and become key players in the nation’s recovery from COVID-19.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this latest series of developments? If COVID-19 vaccines are offered by private hospitals with price tags, are you willing to pay for them? What do you think is the single biggest disadvantage of government-led handling of COVID-19 vaccines? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics are planning to organize activities to disrupt COVID-19 vaccination around the country?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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