ASEAN to allocate $10.5m from response fund to buy COVID-19 vaccines

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The sixth meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) Working Group on Public Health Emergencies (ACCWG-PHE) held via teleconference on Thursday. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam and ASEAN countries on Thursday agreed to spend US$10.5 million to purchase COVID-19 vaccine via the ASEAN response fund.

The vaccine doses will be distributed equally among the group’s members, members agreed at the sixth meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) Working Group on Public Health Emergencies (ACCWG-PHE) held virtually on Thursday, with discussions focusing on effective control of coronavirus outbreaks and sustainable, comprehensive recovery.

The ASEAN COVID-19 response fund, an initiative adopted in 2020 during the year Việt Nam held the chairmanship role, has so far received $15 million from ASEAN members and partners.

The implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework with 24 out of 193 initiatives completed and 127 to be underway in 2021, includes a specialised committee to be established within the ASEAN Secretariat in charge of coordination and support for recovery efforts.

ASEAN member countries have also agreed to soon build the ASEAN Travel Corridor, which Indonesia proposed and has been chosen to lead the arrangement task force, in order to soon facilitate essential travel of ASEAN people given the current complex developments of the pandemic.

Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Head of Việt Nam’s delegation, at the meeting expressed support for the use of the fund for purchasing COVID-19 vaccines, and noted that each country must identify the vaccine needs, demands, types, and the groups to be inoculated.

The Vietnamese diplomat also welcomed the initiative by 2021 ASEAN chair Brunei to utilise the WHO-led COVAX mechanism to meet ASEAN’s COVID-19 vaccine demand.

Dũng said Việt Nam is completing its internal procedures to announce the contribution commitment to the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies, and is actively cooperating with other ASEAN members in selecting the host country of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED), to be set up with support from Japan.

Việt Nam has also pledged to closely coordinate with other members and the ASEAN Secretariat to implement the recovery framework to minimise the adverse impacts of the pandemic on people. — VNS

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