PH joins Covid-19 vaccine global access facility

By Catherine S. Valente, TMT

THE Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the Philippines’ participation in a global coronavirus facility that helps ensure equal access to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines, Malacañang said on Friday.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the IATF “approved the participation of the Philippines in the Gavi Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, including the corresponding allocation of funds.”

Gavi, an international organization created to improve access to new and underused vaccines, is co-leading COVAX with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization, in collaboration with vaccine manufacturers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) described the facility as a “mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines worldwide.”

Over 150 countries have joined the facility that aims to deliver two billion doses of safe and effective vaccines that have passed regulatory approval by the end of 2021.

“These vaccines will be delivered equally to all participating countries, proportional to their populations, initially prioritizing health care workers then expanding to cover 20 percent of the population of participating countries,” the WHO said.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his recent public address, sought the immediate purchase of a vaccine for the treatment of Covid-19, once it is available.

Duterte also renewed his plan to either borrow money or sell government properties, for the purchase of the vaccine.

“If there is a thing developed which is really good for you, mauna ako (I will take the initiative). Mangutang ako. Magpabili ako kung saan magpabili ng lupa para ibili ko ng medicine (I will borrow money [or] I will sell public property to buy medicine [or vaccine] against Covid-19),” he said.

To date, the country now has 74,390 confirmed Covid-19 cases with 48, 136 active infections.

Some 1,871 individuals died and 24,383 persons recovered from the virus.

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