The COVID-19 pandemic exposed a hidden weakness of global economies: healthcare systems are not as healthy as we thought they were. The pandemic showed that even the best healthcare systems of the most technologically advanced countries can be strained in the absence of a basic cure in the form of a working vaccine.
Since the emergence of COVID-19 in late 2019 in China, global efforts have been focused on living with the pandemic. These were in the form of intermittent lockdowns of communities or entire countries, restriction of human mobility, physical distancing, personal hygiene, and the use of digital technologies to cut human interactions, among others. The ultimate intention was to slow down, if not totally halt, the transmission of the virus.
But even with all these, infections of the virus continue to rise around the world. Worst of all, the public health crisis has evolved into an economic crisis that resulted in the contraction of global economies.
However, with the commercial availability of vaccines against COVID-19, the human transmission of the virus is expected to be significantly reduced, enabling economies to open up further. Hopefully, economic life will return to normalcy and more people’s lives can be saved. Leaders have opined that COVID-19 vaccines will be the most critical ingredient to start an economic recovery.
In order to help accelerate the procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, Stratbase calls for a whole-of-society approach that could maximize the resources and other assets of various players. The government must closely work and coordinate with the private sector to ensure that the deployment of the vaccines will be swift and those who must be prioritized will indeed be prioritized. In fact, amid the height of the pandemic last year, the private sector proved that they are the perfect partners of government as they spearheaded initiatives on testing, construction of isolation and quarantine facilities, and other efforts in responding to the public health crisis.
But then again, in choosing the vaccine, its safety and effectiveness, as well as cost, must be of prime consideration. It would be helpful if the vaccination process is done hand in hand with the private sector to lighten the strain of public health agencies. Large business conglomerates have resources that at times, better than those of public health organizations. Hence, the government must work with the private sector to ensure safe and reliable COVID-19 vaccination programs may be undertaken within the premises of such private conglomerates.
Prof. Dindo Manhit
CEO and Managing Director