THE ABOITIZ group has committed to donate additional vaccine doses for the second wave of the tripartite initiative among the private sector, the government and UK-based AstraZeneca plc, it said on Tuesday.

The program dubbed “A Dose of Hope” aims to bring in 3 million more vaccine doses on top of the 2.6 million doses that were pledged in November. The initiative aims to inoculate as much as 70 million Filipinos in 2021.

The Aboitiz group joined more than 300 companies and around 40 local government units in forging the deal during a virtual signing ceremony on Thursday, it said in a press release.

“We are thankful to the Aboitiz Group for continuously supporting the government’s immunization initiatives. You have been there from day one, ensuring that our fellow Filipinos get the much-needed help in this time of crisis. This is a strong manifestation of leadership that goes beyond profits,” Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., the government’s “vaccine czar,” was quoted as saying.

He noted the importance of the role of the private sector and local governments in the national immunization program.

To date, the Aboitiz group placed its total contribution to the national COVID-19 response efforts at around P2.2 billion.

“The Aboitiz Group stands behind this national collaborative effort to protect Filipinos from COVID-19 while ensuring that we keep our economy running. We will continue to respond where our help is needed as our country moves forward to a better normal,” said Sabin M. Aboitiz, president and chief executive officer of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca has rolled out a zero-profit program, which sets the price of its vaccines at the lowest possible rate. Its vaccine is estimated to cost around P500 or $10 for two doses. — Angelica Y. Yang