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Philippines joins global facility that guarantees 'fair' access to COVID-19 vaccines
A resident wearing a face mask stands inside a restaurant as he awaits customers along an almost empty street in Navotas in suburban Manila on July 16, 2020, after the local government reimposed a lockdown in the city due to increased COVID-19 infections.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

Philippines joins global facility that guarantees 'fair' access to COVID-19 vaccines

(Philstar.com) - July 24, 2020 - 1:49pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will join a mechanism that helps ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Malacañang announced Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the government’s pandemic task force has approved the country’s participation in the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, including the corresponding allocation of funds.

Laboratories across the world are racing to produce a vaccine to help end the health crisis that has already infected 15.4 million people globally.

The COVAX facility—co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization—aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country.

“These vaccines will be initially delivered equally to all participating countries, proportional to their populations, initially prioritizing health care workers then expanding to cover 20% of the population of participating countries,” the WHO said in a July 15 release.

Further doses will then be made available based on a country’s need, vulnerability and coronavirus threat.

The WHO said the goal of having fair and equitable access for all can be achieved by “sharing the risks associated with vaccine development, investing in manufacturing upfront so vaccines can be deployed at scale as soon as they are proven successful, and pooling procurement and purchasing power.”

Over 150 countries have joined the COVID-19 vaccine global access facility.

The coronavirus pandemic has so far sickened 74,390 people in the Philippines, with 1,871 deaths. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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