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PH continues membership to Gavi COVAX alliance

September 15, 2020 - Tuesday 8:09 PM by PNA

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MANILA – The Philippines is continuing its membership to the Gavi COVAX alliance, a global initiative among vaccine manufacturers and foreign governments to provide countries an efficient vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday.

The reiteration came following the recent remarks of President Rodrigo Duterte who said Manila would prioritize the acquisition of a safe and effective vaccine from China and Russia after he took a swipe at Western pharmaceutical firms who have allegedly asked for advance payment.

"We will continue our membership in the alliance. Ang konteksto lang po, sinasabi niya na ang mga western companies ngayon pa lang humihingi na ng kumbaga reservation fee. Samantalang ang bansang Tsina at Russia wala pong ganiyang hinihingi at pupuwede pa ngang utangin kung magkakaroon sila ng vaccine (He [Duterte] was just saying that western companies are asking for reservation fee unlike countries such as China and Russia that you could even loan once their vaccines are out)," he said in a virtual presser.

COVAX or Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility is co-led by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

It has the largest and most diverse Covid-19 portfolio, which includes nine candidate vaccines, with nine more under evaluation.

As of August 24, about 80 self-financing countries expressed interest in the alliance, joining 92 low- and middle-income economies that are eligible to be supported by the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

The initiative seeks to deliver 2 billion safe and effective vaccines that passed regulatory approval and WHO prequalification by the end of 2021.

According to WHO, these vaccines would be offered equally to all participating countries, proportional to their populations, initially prioritizing healthcare workers then expanding to cover vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.  Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

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