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Duterte calls for universal access to COVID-19 vaccines





President Duterte reiterated his call for universal access to COVID-19 vaccines, telling the international community that it would be a “gross injustice” to exclude poor or developing nations from the recovery initiative.

Duterte made the statement as he addressed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) for the second time this year at its 31st Special Session in Response to the COVID-19.

In his pre-recorded message aired past midnight Friday (Manila time), Duterte amplified the Philippines’ call for greater solidarity and enhanced cooperation to address the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

He reiterated his push for universal access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and technologies.

“Life-saving services and products must be made accessible to the most vulnerable. The most to the least,” he said.

According to the President, leaving a nation behind in the road to post-pandemic recovery will discredit the values of the UN.

“If any country is excluded by reason of poverty or strategic unimportance, this gross injustice will haunt the world for a long time,” Duterte said.

“It will completely discredit the values upon which the United Nations was founded,” he added.

“We cannot let this happen. No one is safe unless everyone is safe.”

In his speech, Duterte likewise expressed strong support for the global medical and scientific initiatives forged at the World Health Organization (WHO) like the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access or COVAX Facility.

The COVAX Facility, which the Philippines joined, is a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

Duterte reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to contributing to the pooling of global resources and helping other countries without preconditions.

“Our collective initiatives in the UN and other multilateral frameworks are our best chance to defeat COVID-19,” he said.