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PH joins the international campaign for free, universal access to Covid vaccines

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On Wednesday, the Philippines joined the global effort to offer excellent vaccinations against the 2019 coronavirus illness (Covid-19) and other diseases that can be prevented by vaccination for free and to everyone.

The Covid-19 pandemic provided the Philippines with an excellent opportunity to interact with its partners in the region and around the world, according to Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Maria Theresa Dizon-de Vega. She made this statement at the 2nd Vaccine Cooperation Forum in the Indo-Pacific Region.

These are the best practices for data-driven governance, smart governance, and health management for our health system, and hopefully, we can take away some inputs that we can apply or change depending on the needs of our public citizens in the Philippines, she said.

In an effort to increase countries’ resilience and readiness for upcoming pandemics, the meeting brought together 20 health experts and high-ranking officials from South Korea, the United States, Australia, and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Hyundong Cho, vice minister of foreign affairs, stated that the Indo-Pacific region is acting together against the risks of COVID-19 as the Korean government “actively contributes to establishing a free, peaceful, and more affluent area” by hosting dialogues.

“Regionally, ASEAN swiftly channeled its collective efforts and established the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies and the ASEAN Covid-19 Reaction Fund, making a swift region-wide response possible,” he said. “By implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, ASEAN also assumed leadership in the region’s recovery.”

The conference, which was organized by the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with Australia and the United States, is “extremely important as it promotes and illustrates the importance of regionalization in terms of vaccine development and production in such a way that regions can be independent when the situation demands it,” according to Dr. Tore Godal, the conference’s founding CEO and Special Advisor to CEPI.

Lora Stone, the deputy coordinator for the US government’s global response to avian influenza and health security, emphasized the necessity for nations to ensure vaccine security and production.

Additionally, she added, “We need ongoing political and financial commitment to this training, this development, sustainable manufacturing, and knowledge exchange. “One additional recommendation is that we should coordinate our multiple vaccines manufacturing cooperation activities to ensure that we are not in direct competition with one another and that these are truly long-term sustainable endeavors.”

PH-Korea collaboration

According to Dizon-de Vega, Undersecretary Ma is the in-charge officer for the Department of Health (DOH). Rosario Vergeire represented the Philippines last week in Seoul at a ministerial meeting on global health security where representatives from other nations discussed the effects of Covid-19 and other public health challenges.

She claimed that because Korea has an advanced system for managing public health that is comparable to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Philippines may learn a lot from it.

She continued, “The Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs is in constant engagement with our partners here in Korea and with our partners throughout the region in terms of sharing best practices, in terms of building human capacity, in terms of building the soft infrastructure which is very necessary to manage public health emergencies, public health concerns, and vaccination as well as public awareness and education about health issues.

The DOH seeks to end the pandemic and guarantee access to healthcare for all Filipinos through Senate Bill 2505, also known as the Philippine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Act.

The Centers for Health Statistics, Surveillance and Epidemiology, Health Evidence, and Reference Laboratories will be created by the bill once it becomes law.

The eight priority actions outlined by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. include the establishment of the National Disease Prevention Management Authority and the Virology Institute of the Philippines.

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