IATF okays PH participation in Covid-19 vaccine global access

MANILA, July 24 (Mabuhay) — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the country’s participation in a global initiative that guarantees access to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines worldwide.

“The members of the IATF likewise approved the participation of the Philippines in the Gavi Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, including the corresponding allocation of funds,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who also serves as IATF-EID spokesperson, said in a press statement.

The COVAX Facility is a mechanism designed to ensure rapid, fair, and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for every country in the world, be it a rich or poor nation, to make rapid progress towards slowing the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement.

The COVAX, co-led by WHO, Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, aims to step up the development and manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines by getting the support of developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers.

The WHO noted on July 15 that about 75 countries have already submitted expressions of interest to protect their populations by joining the COVAX Facility.

The 75 nations, which would finance the vaccines from their respective budgets, have partnered with some 90 lower-income countries that could be supported through voluntary donations to Gavi’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment.

The WHO noted that the goal of COVAX is to deliver two billion doses of safe, effective, vaccines by the end of 2021.

It ensured that the vaccines would be delivered equally to all participating countries, proportional to their populations, initially prioritizing health care workers then expanding to cover 20 percent of the population of participating nations.

The WHO added that additional doses would be made available based on the country’s needs and vulnerability, and the threat of Covid-19.

“The COVAX Facility will also maintain a buffer of doses for emergency and humanitarian use, including dealing with severe outbreaks before they spiral out of control,” it said.

Meanwhile, Roque confirmed that the IATF-EID has approved the creation of a sub-technical working group (sub-TWG) that would study the possible amendments to the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

This was contained in IATF-EID Resolution 58 approved on Thursday.

Roque said the sub-TWG would be chaired by the Department of Health, with the departments of justice and interior, Philippine National Police, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority as members, he said. (MNS)

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