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Philippines joins global effort for fair access to COVID-19 vaccines


The Philippines has decided to participate in world's effort to ensure fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, Malacañang announced on Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Thursday gave its approval for the country’s participation in the Gavi COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility, “including the corresponding allocation of funds.”

Aside from the Philippines, the initiative gained the support of more than 150 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

The objective of the COVAX is to deliver two billion doses of safe and effective vaccines to all participating countries by the end of 2021.

Priority will be given to healthcare workers. The program will then be expanded to cover 20% of the population of participating countries. Further doses will be made available based on country need, vulnerability and COVID-19 threat.

Also, the program will maintain a buffer of doses for emergency and humanitarian use.

Last month, China’s President Xi Jinping vowed to give the Philippines priority access once it develops a vaccine.

Likewise, the United States said it was willing to share a vaccine and treatment against COVID-19 with its allies and partners.

President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly said he would sell Philippine assets to make funds to procure vaccines against COVID-19 once available.

But Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno on Thursday said Duterte was only joking and that the Philippines has enough funds for its war chest against the coronavirus. —LBG, GMA News