President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (Philippine time) described as "shocking" and "selfish" the discussions about COVID-19 vaccine booster shots by rich countries in the face of "man-made drought of vaccines ravaging the poor countries."
"The now talk of booster shots while developing countries consider half doses just to get by — this is shocking beyond belief and must be condemned for what it is, a selfish act that can neither be justified rationally nor morally," said Duterte, speaking remotely during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
He noted that rich nations "horde life-saving vaccine, while poor nations wait for trickles."
The Philippines has received 64,942,000 doses of various COVID-19 vaccine brands as of September 21 and fully inoculated 18,560,409 Filipinos as of September 20, or 24.06% of the its target population for herd immunity.
In his speech, Duterte urged "our privileged partners" to support the COVAX Facility, the global initiative providing COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries, and further strengthen other cooperation mechanisms.
"We need this to save more lives, break the cycle of variants, and help ensure global economic recovery," he said.
The Philippines has committed $1 million as a "modest contribution" to the COVAX Facility, according to Duterte.
"The plain fact is this pandemic will not end unless the virus is defeated everywhere," Duterte said. —KBK, GMA News