MANILA – The Philippines joined the growing number of concerns raised about the "hoarding" of the limited supply of coronavirus vaccines.
Speaking at an online meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC) on Friday, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. cited the daunting challenges of securing equitable access to vaccines amid limited global supply.
"We join the UN Secretary-General in lamenting the unfortunate state of global Covid-19 vaccination, and fully align with the course of action of Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the Non-Aligned Movement, the G77 and other like-minded member states," Galvez, also the chief implementer of the government's policy against Covid-19, said during the ECOSOC Special Ministerial Meeting "A Vaccine for All”.
Galvez said vaccine hoarding is greatly affecting the pandemic response worldwide.
"Hoarding the limited vaccines does not serve anyone's interests and only hurts everyone and the global response. Similar transgressions run contrary to solidarities reached multilaterally that emphasized the importance of collective action," he said.
Galvez called for boosting international cooperation to respond to the pandemic, particularly the equitable access to limited vaccine supply.
"The Philippines remains resolute in championing a policy of ensuring universal, fair, equitable, and timely access to Covid-19 vaccines as long-term solutions to building back better, amid the emergence of new variants and the global scarcity that has been challenging vaccine rollouts in some countries," he said.
Last month, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen of Germany told Funke Media Group in an interview that the bloc will not share coronavirus vaccines with other countries until it has "a better production situation in the EU (European Union)."
"There is quite a bit of pressure on member states to obtain the vaccine for themselves," she said, but added “EU would thrust its support behind the World Health Organization's COVAX initiative.”
The UN has launched “Only Together”, a global campaign to support global vaccine equity and advance access to vaccines.
“It has been clearer, as it has always been, that #OnlyTogether can we end this pandemic especially now that we have begun to have the scientific capacity to do so," Galvez stated.
He also urged the international community to “reinforce our greater global solidarities and uphold our collective commitment and to further intensify its cooperation to address Covid-19’s multidimensional challenges.”
Galvez emphasized "no one is safe unless everyone is safe" against the dreaded virus and the international community must "faithfully fulfill collective duties for the common good of humanity."
UN Secretary-General António Guterres earlier expressed dismay over the “uneven and unfair” distribution of coronavirus vaccines.
Galvez said the Philippines remained committed to the global consensus to ensure collaborative efforts for equitable access to the Covid-19 jabs and treatments are “global public goods that must be made accessible and affordable for all.”
"The Philippines fully supports and commits to this, as much as it fully aligns with the UN Secretary-General's call for a Global Vaccination Plan so that vaccines reach every developing and least-developed country without any further delay," he said.
Galvez noted that the Philippines has pledged USD100,000 each to the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility as well as the Asean Covid-19 Response “despite the travails of its own national response.” (PNA)