Photo Credits: Presidential Communications 

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (PH time) accused rich countries of hoarding Covid-19 vaccines as he lamented how poor nations were forced to settle for leftover jabs.

“From what I have seen, that future will likely be one of inequality – where the poor plays catch-up with the rich, with no hope nor chance of ever succeeding in closing the gap,” Duterte told a United Nations (UN) General Assembly,

Duterte made the same call last year in front of UN leaders, claiming vaccines went to highest bidders, leaving poor nations without anti-Covid-19 shots.

“We cannot, in all conscience, allow this to happen. An unjust order is inherently volatile,” Duterte said in his last UN General Assembly address.

Duterte also said there was inequality in how these rich countries were already considering booster shots.

“Rich countries hoard life-saving vaccines, while poor nations wait for trickles. They now talk of booster shots, while developing countries consider half-doses just to get by,” he said.

“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 plain fact is – this pandemic will not end unless the virus is defeated everywhere. Vaccines are key to achieving this,” he added.

Duterte said the Philippines was supportive of equal vaccine distribution, citing the country’s $1,000,000 donation to the Covax facility.

The Covax facility has provided the Philippines with 16,067,680 Covid-19 vaccine doses.

The Philippines aims to inoculate up to 90 million Filipinos this year to achieve herd immunity, but has yet to breach the 20 million mark. John Ezekiel J. Hirro