An international movement with backing from influential global institutions has emerged and is prodding rich countries to do their part for solidarity in handing over excess vaccines to the third world.
The existence of such effort is an indictment of the inequity that has infested the global supply of the essential commodity.
The cure to the coronavirus disease 2019 has become a commodity, since many producer countries have started to use these as leverage to gain concession from other countries, such as the anxieties experienced in most parts of the world as both Europe and the United States announced a halt in distribution of some brands.
Under the current situation, most of the developed world already had their fill of the needed shots, and many times over. Some of the stocks are already idle since they had inoculated most of their citizens of the required two doses.
In what can be considered as a summit of government officials and multilateral institutions regarding the state of the world economy amid the pandemic, World Bank president David Malpass said many countries now have money available to spend on doses but rapid deliveries aren’t available.
“I would like to underline here the importance for countries that have the prospect of excess vaccine supplies to release them as soon as possible,” Malpass said.
“The Philippines strongly supports the statement of Mr. David Malpass,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.
In a meeting with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Malpass pointed to the coronavirus vaccine acquisition and deployment challenges being faced by developing countries.
Despite the challenges, Dominguez said the Philippines was “fully rolling out” its nationwide vaccination program aimed at inoculating all 70 million Filipino adults by end of 2021.
The country had set aside $1.7 billion, or more than P70 billion for procurement, logistics and rollout of vaccines, of which the bulk, worth $1.2 billion, came from loans extended by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
With the financing coming from international lenders with their strict audit procedures, the public is assured of the vaccines being internationally accepted and have passed the stringent criteria for safety and effectiveness and that the procurement is totally transparent since the multilateral institutions directly pay suppliers.
“The delivery of more than 140 million doses of vaccines have been arranged this year. About 15 percent will be delivered in the first half of this year and 85 percent in the second half,” Dominguez said underlining what Malpass said.
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said some countries who had signed up to COVAX had not received any doses, none had received enough and some were not receiving their second-round vaccine allocations on time.
WHO’s head shared the view that the disparity in the global distribution of vaccines is shocking and expanding.
The unequal supply, with poor countries mostly holding an empty bag, is clear proof of hoarding and greed that should have been impossible in humanity at a point where its very existence is threatened.
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