As we make the second stride today during our journey through 2021, slamming shut the door on 2020 with its memories of the unimaginable coronavirus pandemic and the string of typhoons, among others, there are reasons to be happy and hopeful this year.
This week, the Philippines logged 474,000 cases of infections and 9,240 plus deaths, after a lockdown was clamped on the country in mid March last year. And the numbers are still rising.
The tumultuous memory caused by strong typhoons, which unleashed powerful winds and torrential rains which killed dozens of people and destroyed thousands of homes and left swathes of Luzon and other areas flooded, closed a bruised 2020.
But there are good reasons for business leaders and health authorities, and frontliners including the ordinary man on the street, to be hopeful this year.
Shortly before 2020 ended, and that was only this week, the Philippines announced the Philippines will be able to secure supply deals for 150 million doses of vaccines – the possibility of a rollout a monumental achievement – against the novel coronavirus by this month.
Presidential and Inter-Agency Task Force Spokesman Harry Roque told a virtual conference the government was still negotiating for the vaccine supply, in reference to Secretary Carlito Galvez who heads inoculation efforts against COVID-19.
Roque said the government hopes to seal contracts for 150 million vaccine doses.
Rich nations have been able to corner 8.15 billion vaccine jabs, but with funding from local firms, the government has so far secured 2.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by British drugs group AstraZeneca.
However, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve any vaccine for emergency use.
There is also news that China has been racing against the West to develop its own COVID-19 vaccines, with five already in large-scale Phase 3 clinical trials.
This week the protective effect of the (Sinopharm CNBG Beijing) vaccine against COVID-19 has been reported at 79.34 percent by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a Sinopharm subsidiary.
Sinopharm has applied to China's drug regulator for approval of the inactivated coronavirus vaccine, an official statement said, a type of inoculation using particles of the pathogen.
China has committed to giving priority to developing countries, like the Philippines, for vaccines which would be made through several ways, including through donations and aid.
We do not know how the Philippines, which has allotted vaccine funds in its 2021 national budget, would get the vaccines – but the point is the vaccines are ready waiting for evaluation.
Hopes are high the COVID-19 vaccine will be in full distribution by July this year and by the end of the year the planet will be inoculated, according to authorities. There is hope, a plan, and light at the end of the tunnel that should make all business leaders happy.
For businesses, the future of employees executing strategies for the industry appears in good light.
We’re not there yet, in fact a long way from it, but let's continue to hope.