In photo: Employees and the extended workforce of SMC line up to avail of “Ligtas lahat” vaccination program in Pampanga
Over 35,000 employees and the extended workforce of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) will receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines in the next five weeks, as the company fast-tracks its “Ligtas lahat” vaccination program following the delivery of the first tranche of Astra Zeneca vaccines secured by the company last year via a tripartite agreement with the government.
SMC president Ramon S. Ang said that the company had already delivered of an initial 26,700 doses to various provinces where it operates. Vaccination on more NCR-based employees commenced at the San Miguel Sports Complex in Pasig last July 27.
SMC has also accelerated its vaccination campaign in Isabela, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Laguna, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro until August 27.
“We are in a race against time to have all of our 70,000 employees fully vaccinated and I firmly believe that we are on track to achieve micro herd immunity in our offices and facilities nationwide in a few months. Our goal is to work quickly, efficiently, and safely to have everyone completely vaccinated and protected against COVID-19, and the emerging Delta variant, which is more transmissible according to our health experts,” Ang said.
Ang said that some 35,855 employees have signed up for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which SMC procured under its P1 billion “Ligtas Lahat” Program. Majority of the workers will get their jabs at the San Miguel Sports Complex in Pasig City and the province of Cavite.
Today (August 2), there are 12 sites, the most number to date that are simultaneously operating in Laguna, Cavite, Batangas (Mabini and Lipa), Pampanga, Pangasinan, Isabela, Bataan, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod and Cagayan de Oro.
Earlier, SMC also reported that an estimated 17,000 employees had already either received their first dose or have been fully-vaccinated, as category A4 workers through SMC’s partnership with government units (LGUs) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), or with their own LGUs as A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (adults with comorbidities).
Ang said the company has more than enough vaccines to vaccinate its workforce as it recently received 150,000 doses of Astra Zeneca vaccine good for 75,000 direct and indirect workers.
SMC is expecting another batch of 150,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to arrive next year under the tri-partite agreement that the private sector signed with the government and the British-Swedish drug maker last November 2020.
Ang added that SMC expects to administer the second doses of Astra Zeneca vaccine for its employees starting in the middle of September. Under the Department of Health (DOH) guidance, the standard interval for AstraZeneca doses is four weeks to 12 weeks apart.
“We are striking a balance between getting as many employees fully vaccinated as soon as possible while not affecting the maximum protection that the vaccine will provide. We will continue to seek guidance from the experts on the best interval or the middle ground, given the new strain of the virus,” Ang explained.
“Our immediate vaccination goals are in line with the government’s aim to reduce COVID-19 cases that can lead to severe illness, hospitalization, and even death, and to lessen the burden on our health facilities and medical workers,” he added.
To assist in the national vaccination effort, particularly in the NCR, the company has employed over a hundred doctors and nurses. They are currently deployed at various LGU sites in Mandaluyong, Manila, Malabon, Paranaque, and Quezon City and have helped administer some 444,673 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of July 26.
Company regulations concerning wearing of masks and face shields, hand washing, social distancing, and ban on office gatherings continue to be strictly implemented.
“We are also regularly testing our employees at the offices through SMC Better World EDSA, our own RT-PCR testing laboratory. We are also actively monitoring them for symptoms so that interventions can be done immediately according to our standard protocols to prevent the spread of the virus,” Ang said.