Duterte slams rich nations for hoarding Covid vaccines

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has slammed the rich countries’ “selfish” plan to hoard Covid-19 vaccines while the poor and developing nations were experiencing a drought.

“There is a man-made drought of vaccines ravaging poor countries,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded virtual address at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

“Rich countries hoard life-saving vaccines, while poor nations wait for trickles. This is shocking beyond belief and must be condemned for what it is, a selfish act that can neither be justified rationally nor morally,” the President said.

Duterte 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.

Since the onset of the pandemic early last year, Philippines has registered 2,417,419 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 37,074 deaths.

The country has till date 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.

The Philippines has received so far nearly 65 million doses of Covid-19 jabs from different vaccine makers.