Proceeding the FDA approval of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, the world has witnessed several countries benefitting from its efficacy. Thailand has recently procured 30 million doses as it aims to revive an economy crippled by the collapse of the tourism industry. As more people gain access to the revolutionary vaccine, the country hopes to join the list of nations transitioning into a state of normalcy. Deborah Seifert, the Country Manager to Pfizer Thailand and Indochina, speaks about the vaccine rollout and the company’s goals and initiatives towards the country’s road to recovery. “I am proud to represent a company at the forefront of discovery during this pandemic. Pfizer, with our partner BioNTech, innovated the Covid-19 vaccine research, development and production process at a breakneck speed to offer a solution to this global challenge.”
Pfizer has a long-term commitment towards a strong healthcare system in Thailand. Within the last 60 years, Pfizer has strived to deliver access to innovative medicines for Thai people. Apart from vaccines, the goal is to pursue therapeutic breakthroughs in oncology, inflammation and immunology, internal medicine, and rare diseases. By focusing on these five areas, the company provides therapeutic options across all age groups within the population.
“We really have a focus on bringing the types of innovation that make a difference in patients’ lives. That is the basis of our plan to improve access to those innovative medicines either through reimbursement in the public healthcare system or through making our drugs more affordable to patients that need help.”
Road to recovery
Ms. Seifert reiterated Pfizer’s purpose and commitment of bringing breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. “We look to serve more patients with our innovative portfolio by continuing to launch new products.”, she added.
As Thailand approaches its goal of vaccinating 70% of its population by the end of the year, she expressed her excitement over the procurement and delivery of Pfizer vaccines in the country. “We are proud and honored to be part of an industry that will help bring an end to this pandemic.”
The arrival of Pfizer vaccines in September has helped speed up vaccination all over the country. Increasing vaccination rates has led to the resumption of businesses, such as restaurants, fitness centers, and malls.
Schools have also started to gear up for reopening after about half a year of remote learning. The government announced that among the 30 million Pfizer doses purchased, 10 million are allocated to students ages 12 to 18 to push for a high immunization rate in line with the plans to reopen schools before the end of the year. According to the Education Ministry, about 75% of the students in Thailand have signed up for the vaccine. With student vaccinations commencing, schools, including those within the dark red zones, have begun the initial phase of reopening.
As more people get vaccinated and immunity increases, the possibility of fully reopening the country to the world is starting to become more imminent. The company hopes to ensure that this partnership with the government will aid in reviving the economy through the safe return of international travelers and medical tourists.
‘We need to love what we do.’
Standing by company’s corporate core values; courage, excellence, equity, and joy, Pfizer has been able to retain its status as the forerunner of medical innovation. Ms. Seifert emphasized the importance of solidarity and commitment to its core tenets as the world continues to grapple the persistence of the pandemic. “Every colleague really embodies and checks themselves against these dimensions, which Pfizer has taken a lot of effort to really embed throughout the whole organization.”
She furthered by stating that joy is an indispensable contributor to the success of the organization. “It’s really important to recognize that we need to love what we do.”
“Our representatives in the field are used to having day-to-day personal interactions with healthcare professionals. That has reverted to a remote working situation. We had to become much more enabled by digital technology.”
As the pandemic continues to challenge business paradigms, Pfizer had to remodel its means to serve the country without compromising the safety of both its employees and customers. “We really had to adapt to new way of working.”, stated Ms. Seifert while speaking about the difficulties they faced in terms of logistics and communication. However, she assured that by learning how to do things remotely, the company strives to ensure that every person in Thailand is provided sufficient support.
Equity, diversity, and inclusion are not a trend, but an integral part of corporate strategy, practices and Pfizer’s DNA.
Being appointed as the Country Manager for Thailand and Indochina during the onset of the pandemic, Ms. Seifert was aware of the amount of uncertainty that awaited this role. However, she sees it with a great deal of respect. “It is a great honor to lead an organization that is helping to be a part of the solution for the pandemic at the same time as delivering our products to patients under extraordinary conditions.”
It also brings her much pride to work in an organization that heavily values equity, diversity, and inclusion. In line with the company values, she believes that all employees should be given equal opportunities. She places importance on the voices of her colleagues, who she describes to be curious, courageous, inspiring, passionate, enthusiastic, and flexible.
“Our people are our key driver to our long-term success. It’s everyone’s responsibility for creating and maintaining a diverse, equity workforce and an inclusive workplace. Each one of us needs to do our part with full potentials to make the company the great place to work and to become an employer of choice in the market.”
As the lead for Pfizer’s Diversity and Inclusion Council in Emerging Markets, Asia, Deborah Seifert is committed to fully drive D&I policy in the workplace as well as support both regional and local D&I programs to ensure that this embedded culture is apparently practiced and upheld in the company, and ultimately make Pfizer a great place to work. In addition, she embodies the company’s equity goals including empowering women. “We pay attention to not just putting women in roles. They need to be really equipped and ready for those roles.” She underlined that several women work as a Country Managers across Asia.
As the society faces sociocultural and economic challenges, Pfizer and its team of dedicated employees continue to work towards improving the lives of every citizen not only through innovative medicines, but also through its commitment to collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable healthcare for the Thai population.