ARMAN BAYLON/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday renewed his call for equal access to Covid-19 vaccines for all countries, saying it would be a “gross injustice” if poor nations were deprived of access to vaccines.

“If any country is excluded by reason of poverty or strategic unimportance, this gross injustice will haunt the world for a long time,” Duterte told the United Nations during its general assembly’s 31st special session.

“We cannot let this happen, no one is safe unless everyone is safe,” he added.

Duterte made his appeal after Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca reported high effectivity rates of their respective Covid-19 vaccines in late-stage clinical trials.

The Philippine president also called for stronger healthcare systems worldwide.

“Our first priority is to strengthen the capacity of health systems. Without the cure and vaccine, we can only delay the spread of the disease. Life-saving services and products must be made accessible to the most vulnerable,” he said.

The country has recorded 436,345 Covid-19 cases as of Dec. 4.

Barring major vaccine supply issues, the Food and Drug Administration said Filipinos might be able to get Covid-19 vaccines by March.

“Magiging depende na lang po doon sa production kung mayroon na mailalaan na supply para sa Pilipinas at maidi-deliver agad dito sa atin para po ma-distribute natin. Iyon pong approval, siyempre po mauuna po iyon, and then iyon na lang po talagang logistics and the delivery and distribution,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro