MANILA — The country on Thursday pledged some $100,000 or about P4.8 million to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Retreat, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said.
Led by the World Health Organization and GAVI vaccine alliance, the global COVAX initiative aims to ensure equal distribution of vaccines against the deadly virus.
In a tweet, Locsin said he made the pledge through the video conference, and that he would “make good on it.”
“It is not always and only about us; it is as often about the rest of humanity [especially] those most disadvantaged. As humans—I hope, we leave none of humanity behind to the extent we can help it,” he explained.
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez earlier in the day said that vaccines from COVAX would include those developed by US-based Pfizer and Johnson&Johnson, British drugs group AstraZeneca, and Covovax from the Serum Institute of India.
The Department of Health (DOH), meanwhile, had repeatedly mentioned that the Philippines can get around 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, enough for 20 percent of the country’s population, through the COVAX facility.
The health department also pointed out that the priority sectors like health workers will be given shots first when COVAX supplies arrive in the country in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of this year.
Thursday’s Foreign Ministers’ meeting was the first event in Brunei’s chairmanship of ASEAN this year.
The meeting was also expected to discuss ASEAN initiatives for socio-economic recovery from COVID-19, among others.