To our friends and colleagues across the Ayala group,
We hope that you all have been keeping safe and well during these challenging times.
You all are aware of the rising cases of COVID-19 and the increasing presence of the virus’ variants, most especially in the Greater Metro Manila Area. It is certainly a difficult time for everyone, more than one year into the pandemic. We hope that we can once again come together as a community to bring down the number of infections in the country. We must all remain extremely careful and vigilant and continue adhering to health and safety standards.
We assure everyone that our medical teams and our treatment facilities at AC Health are ready to respond to the ongoing surge. Our Qualimed hospitals and isolation facilities have been accepting COVID-19 patients and are working on increasing their capacity further. We continue to contribute to diagnosis and contact tracing efforts through our network of PCR laboratories. In addition, our Healthway clinics, HealthNow app, and Generika drugstores continue to provide extended frontline services for other healthcare needs. We have learned much since the beginning of the pandemic, and we are now better equipped to meet the increasing demands brought on by this surge. AC Health remains on full alert and will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves.
For now, please allow us to update everyone regarding the Ayala Vaccine and Immunization Program (AVIP), which is a vital component of our all-of-country approach to address COVID-19. As you may recall, our AVIP program, in close consultation with the DOH and the IATF, has been designed to provide vaccines to all of our employees for free.
First, we are delighted to announce that, together with our partners from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the Department of Health (DOH), the ICTSI Group and our friends from the private sector, we have finalized the tripartite agreement for the purchase of Moderna vaccines. This is on top of our order of vaccines from AstraZeneca, which we signed a few months ago through another tripartite agreement with the government, in collaboration with the GoNegosyo group. Taken together, this brings the total number of vaccines that Ayala has procured to 1 million doses, inclusive of our donation to the government. We believe that this amount will be sufficient to inoculate our fellow employees and our families, as well as our communities through our donation to the national government. We expect the first deliveries of these doses between May and June.
We are also happy to share that we have begun our vaccination efforts, starting with our medical frontliners at AC Health. As of March 19, 1,400 of our colleagues at Qualimed have been inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccines from the WHO’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, and the Sinovac vaccines from the Chinese government. The vaccines were very much welcomed by our doctors and healthcare professionals, as evidenced by a high acceptance rate, and were well-tolerated with only mild temporary side effects observed.
The Ayala group thanks our medical frontliners for going over and beyond the call of duty in this time of great need. We are also thankful to the IATF and the DOH for their support in bringing these vital vaccines to our frontliners. The Ayala Group remains committed to be part of our national campaign against COVID-19. Through Task Force T3, we will continue to work with our partners in government and the private sector to further mitigate the impact of the pandemic, and to do our part in implementing the country’s national COVID-19 vaccination program.
On this point, our goal is to start our mass employee vaccination efforts by June 1st. Given the scale and magnitude of the task, we have identified and are setting up nearly 20 mega-vaccination sites in key cities nationwide. We are deploying the necessary assets and manpower to build capacity for our group, our private sector partners who are participating with us, and the broader community. We are deploying nearly 500 of our AC Health staff for this massive effort. Through this network of vaccination sites, we aim to administer up to 10,000 doses per day to bring us to our overall target of administering 1 million doses within 2021. This will be a significant milestone in our collective goal of achieving herd immunity at the soonest time.
In preparation for the start of the AVIP program, we encourage everyone to complete their registration for their Ayala Citizen Passport ID and to download the HealthNow app. Aside from providing an alternative channel to receive medical advice and other healthcare services, we will be utilizing HealthNow for our vaccination program. We will notify you once our vaccination modules and registration are operational, but please do set-up your account early on the platform.
As we gear up for this enormous effort, we would again like to encourage everyone to avail of the opportunity to be vaccinated. Vaccination not only affords us an added layer of personal protection against the virus, but it is also our way of doing our share in protecting our workplaces and our homes. Bouncing back from this crisis requires everyone’s participation to protect our countrymen from serious infection and hospitalization, and ultimately, to weaken COVID-19’s ability to spread and do further harm.
To close, we are at a highly critical time in our fight against COVID-19. Our healthcare and economic systems continue to be greatly impacted by the pandemic. While the situation remains challenging, we are quite hopeful that we will be able to weather this storm together once again. We remain greatly inspired and humbled at the selfless service of so many of our medical and economic frontliners more than 12 months since the crisis began. We are also highly encouraged to see so many of our institutions, both in government and in the private sector — including those who would have been considered industry rivals — working hand-in-hand to find a common solution to this challenge. It brings us much hope that the high level of partnership between the public and private sector, and within the business community, is considered by many in the international community as unprecedented and worth harnessing as a model for future emergencies. Our country can certainly achieve so much if we are united in a common cause and a shared purpose.
We are confident that we will all get through this together, but during this critical time, please stay careful, vigilant, and safe. On behalf of the entire Ayala Group of Companies, we wish you and your loved ones strength of body and spirit, and an abundance of hope.