Covid-19 vaccine inequity ‘a global issue’: PCOO chief

Covid-19 vaccine inequity ‘a global issue’: PCOO chief

MANILA – The challenges in the procurement and rollout of Covid-19 vaccines is a global issue and not “incompetence” as alleged by members of the opposition, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said on Sunday.

Andanar made this statement as senators continue to blame the Duterte administration’s supposed incompetence for delays in the procurement and rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.

He praised BBC’s weekly podcast “How to Vaccinate the World” for its “simple, straight to the point and concise” discussion in problems surrounding the global access of Covid-19 vaccines.

“It (the podcast) does drive home that message of vaccine nationalism and vaccine hoarding, which our media here generally has not picked up on, because they tend to be parochial in perspective. And so what the opposition is calling incompetence is really a global issue — not a Philippine problem alone,” he said.

How to Vaccinate the World is hosted by BBC broadcaster and Financial Times columnist Tim Harford.

In the podcast’s 18th episode, Center for Global Development senior fellow Prashant Yadav, one of the guests, gave efforts to vaccinate the world a “failing grade” in terms of moral responsibility.

He said high-income countries have not done enough to increase supplies going to developing countries.

Yadav emphasized the importance of countries to “collaborate” and have “empathy” for other parts of the world.

To speed up Covid-19 vaccine production, Yadav emphasized the need for vaccine manufacturers to deploy teams to transfer vaccine expertise to different sites, look at additional sites without compromising other products they are manufacturing, and ensure other ingredients that vaccine suppliers need do not become constraints.

On Monday, Duterte expressed concern over how some countries allegedly “shanghaied” the vaccine supply but refused to name countries involved.

“Something has gone wrong. In most of the countries, they are — they shanghaied — iyong shanghaied ‘yong parang kinuha na nila na sa kanilang gobyerno at ewan ko (they shanghaied the supply or their governments got the supply. I don’t know but) there’s a ruckus now somewhere,” Duterte said in a speech aired last March 29.

Duterte has been vocal about his disdain for wealthy nations hoarding the world’s limited supply of Covid-19 vaccines.

The Philippines aims to secure 148 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from several companies to inoculate an initial 50 to 70 million Filipinos this year. (PNA)

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