President Rodrigo Duterte urged Friday members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to ensure that everyone has access to COVID-19 vaccines as the race to find one heats up.
“We have to ensure the unimpeded flow of medical supplies and technologies, especially COVID-19 vaccines,” Duterte said in his speech to the 21 member economies of APEC. “We have to defeat the virus everywhere, or no one is safe. To do this, we need to strengthen partnerships to make vaccines a global public good.”
Duterte mentioned several modes to acquire vaccines, including bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and tripartite agreements between the government, the private sector and multilateral financial institutions.
“There is no other way. Let us resolve to act decisively on universal vaccine access and maximize these mechanisms,” he said.
The Duterte administration is pursuing all three modes to acquire the much coveted COVID-19 vaccine.
The president’s call to APEC comes in the heels of his approval to make advance payments for the vaccine — which is required by some drugmakers and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization COVAX facility, which the Philippines is participating in — and his agreement to issue an executive order for its emergency use.