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Sep 28, 2021 / 16:14

ASEAN advocates equal access to Covid-19 vaccines for all member countries

Leaders of ASEAN member countries are expected to call for contributions of different sectors and agencies within the bloc to the joint battle against the pandemic.

ASEAN will evenly advocate about 100,000 - 250,000 doses of vaccine to each nation depending on types of vaccine, striving to deliver the first batch of vaccine in the fourth quarter this year and continue with it in the first quarter of 2022.

The information was released at the seventh online meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group on Public Health Emergencies (ACCWG-PHE) held virtually on September 27.

The meeting focused on updating measures to promote the effective implementation of Covid-19 response initiatives approved at the 37th ASEAN Summit in November 2020, which deploys a plan to use 10.5 million of the total US$20.8 million from the ASEAN Covid-19 Response Fund to buy vaccines for member countries.

ASEAN countries agreed to speed up the early progress of putting the ASEAN Center for Response to Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED) into operation, contributing to improving preventive medicine capacity.

 Deputy Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung suggested that ASEAN should speed up the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines for member countries. Photo: Nguyen Hong/Baoquocte.vn

Along with efforts to strengthen cooperation in response to Covid-19, the countries welcomed the positive progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN Overall Recovery Framework (ACRF) and emphasized the need to focus on promoting innovation and digital transformation for a comprehensive and sustainable recovery.

As of August 2021, 40/185 initiatives in the Master Recovery Framework have been completed, 134 have been implemented and are underway, and 11 will continue to be realized in the coming years.

During the event, participants voiced their concerns about the ongoing waves of Covid-19 infection in the community, while emphasizing the importance of the “whole community” approach to prevent and control the disease.

Participants also recommended ASEAN leaders adopt the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework (ATCAF) and continue discussing the possibility of adopting a “vaccine passport”.

They agreed to propose leaders of ASEAN member countries call for contributions of different sectors and agencies within the bloc to the joint battle against the pandemic.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of the ASEAN SOM Vietnam, highly valued the progress of implementing ASEAN initiatives on coping with Covid-19.

He suggested the bloc step up vaccine purchase for its member states and encourage the sharing of vaccines on a voluntary basis to help countries in demand.

Dung also proposed regional states make further contributions to the ASEAN Covid-19 response fund and ASEAN reserve of medical supplies.

“Vietnam is completing internal procedures to announce a list of contributions to the regional reserve of medical supplies and working actively with member states to soon put the ACPHEED into effective operation,” the deputy foreign minister said.

Speaking highly of the achievements in the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, Dung suggested the grouping continue focusing on promoting economic recovery and mitigating the negative impacts of the pandemic on residents in the region.