National athletes preparing for the Tokyo Olympics and the Southeast Asian Games will be vaccinated in May and June.
Philippine Olympic Committee first vice president Al Panlilio, who was appointed as chairman of the task force on COVID-19 vaccine procurement for the SEA Games, said this following a meeting early this week.
“We can prioritize the athletes, especially the Olympians. Kasi sila ang mauuna. But we have a bit of time for our Southeast Asian Games athletes. We’re seeing, hopefully after a first major challenge, sometime in June,” said Panlilio.
The POC is purchasing the vaccine through a $40,000 subsidy from the Olympic Council of Asia.
Panlilio said PLDT will make its procurement through ports tycoon Enrique Razon, who is taking responsibility for Olympic athletes and plans to have them vaccinated by May.
ICTSI and PLDT have made commitments to use Moderna for both Olympic and SEA Games athletes.
“I have already reserved 1,200 doses for the athletes and the delegation that’s getting ready for the SEA Games. ‘Yun ang aming unang gagawin,” added Panlilio.
The Chief Revenue Officer of PLDT said his company has already ordered a total of 1.2 million doses and is coordinating with ICTSI and the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases over this.
The number of jabs that will be needed has been determined through his talks with task force members composed of Dr. Raul Canlas (medical adviser), Bones Floro, lawyer Billy Sumagui and PLDT Chief Procurement Officer Os de la Paz.
The POC formed its task group last Wednesday, just days after Malacanang allowed private companies to secure vaccines for their workforce.
The POC is planning to send a 626-strong Team Philippines that will compete in 39 of the 40 sports in the Hanoi SEA Games program.
This number has been sent to SEA Games organizers.
The national delegation, with Philippine Sports Commissioner Ramon Fernandez as chef de mission, is expected to be trimmed down further as the biennial meet comes closer to its opening date.
Organizers in both the Olympics and SEA Games are not obligating member countries to immunize athletes who are joining their meets.
But Panlilio said it is better to be safe than sorry.
“Even in the Olympics, it’s not a requirement. But its our responsibility to make sure that our athletes are safe,” added Panlilio.