Pangilinan appeals to WHO to put PH on top of COVAX beneficiaries list

April 8, 2021

SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan appeals to the World Health Organization (WHO) to put the Philippines on top of the list of beneficiaries in its COVAX facility and deliver the urgently needed vaccines to help avert the collapse of the country’s healthcare system.

“Unahin na ng WHO ang Pilipinas sa mga beneficiary ng COVAX facility nila at i-deliver agad sa atin ang mga vaccines para hindi tuluyang mag-collapse ang ating healthcare system (We are urging WHO to put the Philippines on top of the list of beneficiaries in its COVAX facility and deliver to us the urgently needed vaccines to help avert the collapse of our healthcare system),” Pangilinan said.

“Parang apoy na kumakalat ang Covid-19 at na-o-overwhelm na ang ating healthcare capacity. Umaasa tayong paninindigan ng international community na global public good ang vaccines, at sisiguraduhin ang abot-kaya at patas na access sa bakuna para sa lahat (Covid-19 is spreading like wildfire and overwhelming our healthcare capacity. We trust that the international community will live up to its commitment to treat vaccinations as a global public good, and ensure affordable, equitable, and fair access to vaccines for all),” he added.

Lagging in its Covid response, the Philippines is experiencing the biggest surges in Covid cases, after failing to do free mass testing and tracing despite having one of the longest and strictest lockdowns. As of April 7, the country has recorded 819,164 total Covid cases, 158,701 active cases, and 14,059 Covid deaths.

The senator also exhorts the government to work double time in talking with WHO, foreign governments, and vaccine manufacturers for the needed supply of the doses.

“Hinihikayat din natin ang IATF na mas agresibong makipag-negotiate sa WHO para sa agarang delivery at nang maiwasang lumala pa ang sitwasyon at tumawid tayo sa sinasabing ‘red line’ ng WHO at maging humanitarian crisis (We urge the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to aggressively negotiate with WHO for an earlier delivery in order to prevent worsening the situation and crossing what WHO calls the ‘red line’ into a humanitarian crisis),” he added.

Pangilinan rued that since the government started negotiating for the vaccines, only a little over a million doses have arrived in the country.

Arrival of a few million doses from abroad has faced several delays.

“Pumupunta ang mga tao, lalo na ang mga senior natin, sa mga vaccination site pero umuuwi silang hindi nababakunahan dahil kulang ang bakuna. Ganyan kalala ang sitwasyon (People, including our senior citizens, go to vaccination sites but go home without getting the jab because there are no more vaccines. This is how dire our situation is),” he said.

COVAX, an abbreviation for the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access initiative, aims to provide equitable access to vaccines worldwide to low- and middle-income countries.

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