The Philippines is ready to work with Brazil to promote universal access to the coronavirus vaccines, President Duterte said Wednesday as the world continued to battle the pandemic.
The President made a pitch for equitable access for COVID-19 vaccines when new Brazil ambassador to the Philippines Antonio José Maria de Souza e Silva presented his credentials in Malacañang Wednesday, Feb. 10.
“Let us also continue to work together to ensure universal access to the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a principled position which we should continue to push and demand in all available fora,” Duterte said.
Brazil has started to roll out coronavirus vaccines last month, approving those developed by British drugmaker AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac.
Brazil has recorded the second most COVID-19 deaths in the world with around 234,000 based on the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
It has the third most coronavirus infections at more than 9.6 million since the start of the pandemic.
The cases of infections in the Philippines, on the other hand, have surged past the 500,000 level with more than 11,000 deaths. Coronavirus vaccine supplies have been secured from Pfizer, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and Moderna to attain the state goal of herd immunity. The initial supply is expected to arrive this month.
In the same event, the President pushed for closer relations between the Philippines and Brazil in the areas of trade and investments as well as security, saying it was time to “renew the resolve to take our relations to an even (higher) plane.
“The two countries mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties this year.
“Brazil is an old friend and partner of the Philippines. With room for growth in our relationship, the horizon is wide as it is bright,” the President said.
“Let us work together to intensify bilateral trade and investment exchanges during your tenure, especially in agriculture, biofuels, Business Process Outsourcing and logistics,” he added.
Duterte also welcomed the delivery of six new A-29 Super Tucano aircrafts from Brazil last year.” The partnership in defense and security is important for the Philippines,” he said.
“With the deep mutual understanding between our countries, we hope to continue our collaborative work through our shared advocacies for inclusive growth and sustainable development and bilateral consultations,” he added.