Philippines’ President, Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday condemned the rich countries’ selfish plan to hoard COVID-19 vaccines while poor and developing nations are experiencing vaccine drought.
The president said this in a pre-recorded virtual address at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, that a man-made drought of vaccines is ravaging poor countries.
He added that rich countries hoard life-saving vaccines while poor nations wait for trickles.
“This is shocking beyond belief and must be condemned, it is a selfish act that can neither be justified rationally nor morally.’’
The president urged the privileged countries to fully support the COVAX facility and further strengthen other vaccine cooperation mechanisms.
“We need this to save more lives, break the cycle of variants, and help ensure global economic recovery,’’ he added.
The Philippines now has over 2.4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases including 37,074 deaths.
The country has administered over 41.79 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and more than 18.8 million people have been fully vaccinated.
The government aims to vaccinate up to 77 million people this year.
China has been delivering COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines since Feb. 28, it was the first to provide coronavirus vaccines to the Southeast Asian country.
Allowing it to kick off its vaccination drive on March 1, the Philippines has received so far nearly 65 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from different vaccine makers.
China delivered more than 50 per cent of the Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccines stockpile.