‘No one is safe until everybody is safe’: Duterte calls for global solidarity in public health

Published March 4, 2021, 11:15 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

No one is safe until everyone is safe, President Duterte declared Thursday amid his latest pitch for global cooperation to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

The President issued the rallying call for closer cooperation in protecting public health during the arrival of over 400,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines in Manila.

The latest batch of vaccines from the global vaccine acquisition scheme will augment the country’s supply to help protect Filipinos, initially health workers, from the coronavirus illness. “As I have said before, these vaccines should be treated as a global public good,” the President said during the turnover ceremony at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

“The need for international solidarity and cooperation cannot be made clearer than with this pandemic—because everyone is safe — no one is safe globally until everybody is safe,” he added.

The President has welcomed the arrival of AstraZeneca vaccines doses coursed through the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility. Duterte is also grateful for the WHO, partners and donors for the delivery of the vaccine supply to the country.

“These vaccines, manufactured by the [United Kingdom’s] AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University, will further boost our ongoing national vaccination program,” he said.

“It also comes a few days after the arrival of the donated vaccines from China and our highly successful vaccination rollout in various COVID-19 referral hospitals in the country,” he added.

Duterte likewise commended vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, and the Department of Health “for making this possible.”

He noted that the Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of the AstraZeneca vaccines in the country early this year. Health authorities are also working with international counterparts in conducting studies on vaccine safety and efficacy.

“As we move forward, I am directing all government agencies to actively institutionalize and sustain the whole-of-government approach in addressing our country’s COVID-19 situation,” he added.

Amid the continued rise in coronavirus cases, the government is targeting to give free inoculations to 70 million Filipinos to reach herd immunity. Around 160 million vaccines are expected to be secured by the country before the end of 2021.