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Galvez hits hoarding of limited vaccines

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star
Galvez hits hoarding of limited vaccines
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.
OPAPP / Released, file

MANILA, Philippines — Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has denounced the reported hoarding of limited COVID-19 vaccines, saying, “it does not serve anyone’s interests and only hurts everyone and the global response.”

In his message before an online special ministerial meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC) on Friday, Galvez said hoarding of vaccines and “similar transgressions” run “contrary to solidarities reached multilaterally that emphasized the importance of collective action.”

“If we renege on our commitments and if we do not include our most vulnerable sectors in our responses, we also risk failing an inclusive post-pandemic recovery that leaves no one behind,” Galvez said.

Galvez said that the Philippines is calling on member-states to include women and migrant workers, especially those working in the frontlines of the pandemic response, in the national immunization strategies of governments.

He said women and migrants are disproportionately exposed to the health risks posed by the pandemic, yet they play critical roles in weathering the crisis.

“We also need to address the extremely urgent needs of low- and middle-income countries and bolster support and funding to multilateral initiatives, notably the COVAX Facility, such that it could continue delivering on its targets of two billion vaccine doses to all countries by the end of 2021,” Galvez said.

He said the world is presently haunted by the daunting task of ensuring vaccines for all as the pandemic unraveled, prompting many governments to implement more lockdowns.

“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.

“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 added.

He said the Philippines is calling on the international community to reinforce global solidarities and uphold collective commitment to address COVID-19’s multidimensional challenges.

“Indeed, no one is safe unless everyone is safe. But ultimately, if we are to win this battle and prevent the virus from mutating in the most desolate and harshest of conditions, we must faithfully fulfill our collective duties and act on our common humanity to end this brutal war that has already taken so much from us,” Galvez said.

He said the Philippines fully supports 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.

“We are committed to the World Health Organization, as well as to the COVAX Facility/COVAX Advance Market Commitment and the ASEAN COVID-19 Response, with the Philippines pledging $100,000 to each despite the travails of its own national response,” Galvez said.

UN Secretary General António Guterres earlier expressed dismay at the “uneven and unfair” distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, saying only 10 countries administered 75 percent of all vaccinations. The UN has launched “Only Together,” a global campaign to advance fair and equitable access to coronavirus vaccines worldwide.

President Duterte earlier admitted that the country was facing a shortage of vaccine supply due to the world’s scarce stocks. He was concerned that rich nations have cornered most of the vaccine supplies while poor nations like the Philippines are left to scramble for remaining stocks.

“We’re not the favored few under this planet,” Duterte said.

The government started its free inoculation drive after receiving over three million doses of vaccines, including those procured and donated.

CARLITO GALVEZ COVID-19 VACCINE
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