San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has started administering company-procured vaccines to its workforce, after taking delivery of 150,000 vaccines it acquired from Astra Zeneca under its P1 billion Ligtas Lahat vaccination program.
The vaccines are good for 75,000 individuals, enough to cover all direct and indirect workers across SMC’s nationwide network.
“With the arrival of our vaccines, we are now assured that we can vaccinate all our employees, consultants, and support workers across the San Miguel Group, bringing us closer to our goal of herd immunity in our workplaces and facilities nationwide,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.
“This also means we no longer have to rely on our national government and LGUs, who have been instrumental in getting many of our essential workers vaccinated. We can now take care of our own, and government can continue vaccinating more essential workers and priority groups to help boost our economy,” he added.
SMC started administering the vaccines last Tuesday to 1,000 employees of external partners at its sports complex-turned vaccination site in Pasig City. Vaccination activities for employees and indirect workers will follow at company vaccination sites nationwide.
Ang likewise thanked government for facilitating the delivery of its vaccines, despite supply challenges in many parts of the world.
Prior to the delivery of vaccines, SMC had partnered with LGUs where its operations are located, and assembled several batches of its employees to receive their vaccines under the A4 of essential workers priority group.
“We thank the LGUs and the IATF for supplying us with vaccines for our A4 workers in various areas while we waited for our vaccine supplies. We have learned a lot from our partnership with the LGUs and we know we have to act quickly to further help the country in reducing its transmission amid the emergence of the Delta variant,” he added.
SMC has also hired and deployed more than a hundred medical nurses and doctors to various LGU vaccination sites to augment government medical teams and enable a more efficient rollout of vaccination in more areas.
Ang said the company had also conducted information drives to “better educate our employees on the benefits of vaccination and help address hesitancy.”
“We are proud that a very high percentage of our employees nationwide have signed up for the vaccine. With our experience helping LGUS in their vaccination rollout, and with the partnerships we’ve established with healthcare providers and various vaccination sites, I believe we are more than ready to stage an efficient, effective, and safe rollout of our vaccination program,”Ang said.
“We agree with the government’s view that the creation of safe spaces in every organization or every unit of society through so-called micro herd immunity will help us win over this virus. In San Miguel, we ask for the full cooperation of everyone to make the workplace even safer and give an added layer of protection as we hope to gradually scale up our operations in the months to come,”he added.
According to Ang, achieving herd immunity is possible for the San Miguel Group as an estimated 17,000 employees to date have either received their initial doses or are fully-vaccinated against COVID-19.
This number is comprised of employees who were vaccinated under SMC’s partnership with LGUs and Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and those, who along with their families, had themselves vaccinated on their own initiative.
As of July 26, an initial batch of 26,700 doses of vaccines were already delivered or on their way to various sites, namely in San Miguel Sports Complex in Pasig, Isabela, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Laguna, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro.
For the San Miguel Sports Complex alone, the company expects to vaccinate 1,000 employees per day, starting July 27, and also on July 29 and July 30.
Aside from SMC Sports Complex, SMC is also utilizing the La Salle Green Hills and the Jose Rizal University (JRU) campuses as vaccination sites. SMC and the Mandaluyong LGU jointly manage the JRU site dedicated for both Mandaluyong residents and essential workers.
“We have fully prepared these sites with the help of our own medical personnel. The SMC doctors and nurses we deployed to various LGU vaccination sites to augment the vaccination teams will remain in these areas to help the local government units, except for a few who will assist in the company’s own vaccination efforts,” Ang said.
The SMC doctors and nurses, currently numbering 167, have helped in various sites in Mandaluyong, Manila, Malabon, Paranaque, and Quezon City to administer some 444,673 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of July 26.
To sustain and expand its vaccination program, Ang said the company expects delivery of another batch of 150,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines for next year, under the tri-partite agreement that the private sector signed with the government and the British-Swedish drug maker last November 2020.
SMC’s COVID-19 response since the pandemic struck in March 2020, which has totaled over P14 billion. Of this, over P1 billion has been spent on medical-related donations and initiatives–apart from the P1 billion allotted for the vaccination program.
The company also put up SMC Better World EDSA, an RT-PCR testing laboratory to help meet government’s target testing capacity and make testing more accessible to the public.
It also donated RT-PCR testing machines, automated RNA extraction machines, and test kits, high-flow nasal cannula, swabbing booths, and PPEs to critical health facilities nationwide. To increase quarantine facilities, it funded the construction of 10 temporary quarantine facilities with 15 beds each at military camps nationwide.
San Miguel also converted its liquor facilities to produce and donate 1.3 million liters of disinfectant alcohol to hospitals, local government units (LGUs), uniformed personnel, and non-government organizations.
San Miguel also provided insurance to some 5,000 medical front liners from 18 hospitals in Cebu, with up to P2 million coverage each.