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THE Chief Executive today expressed concern about what he called an imbalance when it comes to access to COVID-19 vaccines, particularly among developing countries.

The President called on world leaders to commit to the COVAX global facility so that other countries may also have access to coronavirus vaccines, he said in his short address during the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment One World Protection Summit

To this day, access has not been universal,” Duterte said.

He cited figures showing over 80 percent of available vaccines have gone to richer countries while less than 1 percent had gone to poorer countries.

This imbalance must be corrected or there will be no real and inclusive global recovery to speak of,” he said.

The event, hosted by Japan, aimed to raise an additional $2 billion to speed up access to 1.8 billion vaccine doses for low-income countries.

The COVAX global facility aims to ensure poor countries have access to vaccines. However, the World Health Organization initiative continues to face difficulties in supply and finances, which has been preventing them from hitting its target to distribute two billion doses to developing countries, including the Philippines, in 2021.

The Philippines expects to receive about 44 million vaccines, enough to cover some 15 percent to 20 percent of the country’s population. So far, about 2.5 million AstraZeneca doses and 193,050 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses were delivered to the country as of May, while 2.2 million more doses of Pfizer’s vaccine is expected in June.

Along with the Philippines, beneficiary countries of the COVAX initiative have experienced delivery delays as global supply remained erratic. COVAX earlier said it projected the continued COVID-19 surge in India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, to lead to a shortfall of 190 million doses by the end of June.

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