ASEAN countries agree to spend US$10.5 million buying COVID-19 vaccines

Friday, 2021-02-19 11:42:20
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Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung speaks during the sixth meeting of the ACC Working Group on Public Health Emergencies. (Photo: VNA)
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NDO/VNA - ASEAN member states, including Vietnam, have agreed to set aside US$10.5 million from the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund to purchase vaccines for their citizens on the basis of equal distribution to all 10 countries.

The agreement was reached during the sixth meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) Working Group on Public Health Emergencies, held via video conference on February 18.

The fund has to date received commitments of over US$15 million in support from ASEAN members and their partners.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung backed spending part of the fund to buy vaccines for the people of ASEAN.

He emphasised the need for each country to determine its demand in order to build the bloc’s vaccine supply plan.

The official also welcomed a proposal from Brunei - Chair of ASEAN this year - to use global multilateral mechanisms such as COVAX.

He affirmed that Vietnam is completing procedures to announce a list of contributions to the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies, and will coordinate with others to select the host of an ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED).

Vietnam will also work closely with other members and the ASEAN Secretariat to carry out the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework along with efforts to control the pandemic towards sustainable recovery in the region, Dung added.

Delegates at the meeting focused on effectively implementing pandemic response initiatives approved by ASEAN leaders at the 37th ASEAN Summit last November under Vietnam's chairmanship, and agreed to step up the ASEAN Committee’s synchronous approach to pandemic control and sustainable and comprehensive economic recovery.

They pledged to efficiently put into operation the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies to ensure capacity in meeting the urgent demand for medical supplies in public health emergencies.

The implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework has seen progress in all three pillars, with 24 out of 183 initiatives completed and 127 expected to be carried out in 2021.

ASEAN countries also agreed to soon build an ASEAN travel corridor, an initiative of Indonesia, to facilitate essential travel of people amid the pandemic.

ACPHEED will be put into operation shortly, with support from Japan, they added.