Duque appeals to UN, WHO on COVID-19 vaccine supply for poor countries

Duque appeals to UN, WHO on COVID-19 vaccine supply for poor countries
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is seen making an address in this undated file photo
The STAR / Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday appealed to global organizations to ensure that poor countries would get enough COVID-19 vaccines, as he said wealthy nations are now discussing supplies for booster shots. 

The health chief sought for the intervention of the United Nations and the World Health Organization with many across the globe still without the jabs. 

"I don't think this is right," he said in Filipino at a briefing in Pampanga. "We hope they will listen to the sentiment of low to middle-income countries where vaccines are still lacking."

In the Philippines, only roughly 2.6% of the estimated 110 million population have completed their two shots. That remains a fraction of the 50 to 70 million that government is eyeing this year.

Supply of the jabs at home has also yet to become stable. So far, the country continues to receive the bulk of vaccines from the WHO, Gavi and CEPI co-led COVAX facility, and procured doses from Sinovac, Sputnik V and Moderna. 

Duque said he would soon formalize his call to the UN and the WHO. 

"Our vaccine coverage is still low that's why we are appealing," he continued, still in Filipino. "I will write to them to remind rich countries not to forget the poor ones."

"Many peoples of the world still don't have even the first vaccine," Duque added. 

Some countries have since announced vaccine donation to Asia and the Philippines. The United States is said to be sending between 800,000 to a million doses to Manila, per vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. 

Japan last month also announced it would give a million AstraZeneca doses to the Philippines which could arrive sometime this July.

Bloomberg's global vaccine tracker has noted that over 3.22 billion vaccine doses have been administered in 180 countries.

It said there are now enough doses to fully inoculate 21% of the world's population, "but the distribution has been lopsided."

"Countries and regions with the highest incomes are getting vaccinated more than 30 times faster than those with the lowest," Bloomberg said.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 23, 2021 - 12:22pm

A new thread on the Philippines' vaccination program in 2021 in the government's revised objective to reach "population protection." (Main image: The STAR/Michael Varcas, file)

August 23, 2021 - 12:22pm

As of August 22, about 12% of the estimated 109 million population have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to date from the pandemic task force.

  • First dose: 17,258,675
  • Second dose: 13,130,485
  • Total doses administered: 30,389,160
August 20, 2021 - 10:13am

An additional 582,500 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Friday morning.

It is part of the private sector's "A Dose of Hope" program, pioneered by Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion.

August 9, 2021 - 2:56pm

An estimated 10.45% of the 109 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 between March 1 and August 9, according to government data.

  • Total doses administered: 24,479,750
  • First dose: 13,087,781
  • Second dose: 11,391,969
August 3, 2021 - 5:56pm

The Philippines on Tuesday receives 3,000,060 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines donated by the United States.

The latest donation is part of the P1.38 billion assistance of the US government to the Philippines since the onset of the pandemic.

Last month, more than 3 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the American government arrived in the country.


August 3, 2021 - 10:08am

The Department of Tourism hails the City of Manila's drive-thru vaccination site at Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park which opened on Saturday. 

“With the move to revert Metro Manila to the stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) measure, this initiative will help establish the much needed resistance against the Delta variant of the virus," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says.

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