After collecting vaccine orders from micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has stopped consolidating orders, noting that only 10 MSMEs had signed up for the shots, mostly for their workers.

Explaining this latest directive from the vaccine committee to suspend consolidation, DTI secretary Ramon Lopez assures the public that “there will be more than enough government purchases and current tripartite agreements to cover the vaccination of all frontliners including economic frontliners and workers.”

The government is looking to bring in 148 million vaccine doses to at least 70 million Filipinos in hopes of boosting the country’s economic recovery. An agreement with China’s Sinovac Biotech has been secured to supply 25 million vaccine doses, with the first batch of 50,000 shots to arrive this month and the rest from March to December.

Other pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer as well as Russia’s Gamaleya Institute are in talks with the Philippine government. Earlier this week, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. announced that the initial batch of COVID-19 vaccines from global initiative Covax is scheduled to arrive by mid-February.

“Definitely, (the vaccination) will have a positive effect. It will definitely regain much of (the) loss in consumer confidence, and next to that is business confidence,” says Lopez.