EU: Philippines exempted from vaccine export ban

MANILA – The Philippines will not be affected by EU export controls on the COVID-19 vaccine, said the European Union (EU) delegation to the country.

The developments came after President Rodrigo Duterte criticized the union during his weekly speech on Monday, alleging that they were withholding global supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a statement, the EU delegation to the Philippines said exports to 92 low and middle-income countries covered by the COVAX facility, including the Philippines, were exempt from the ban.

“There is no impact to the Philippines as well as other poor countries as exports to these countries are exempt from the export ban,” the EU said in a statement.

Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca said last week that it would fail to deliver its promised vaccine to the EU, sparking an angry response from the bloc.

The EU is now looking for schemes to monitor and certify vaccine exports, potentially blocking them if its own supply is not met.

“The authorization mechanism for the export of the COVID-19 vaccine includes various exceptions from previous authorizations, to ensure the EU continues to fully honor its commitment to deliver the vaccine to our immediate environment,” the statement added.

The EU also stipulates the following conditions for their exemption from prohibition:

Export to one of the 92 low and middle income countries on the COVAX Advanced Market Commitments list.

Export of COVID vaccines purchased and / or shipped via COVAX, UNICEF and PAHO with destinations to other COVAX countries.

Exports in the context of humanitarian emergency response.

The political and economic union said they remained fully committed to international solidarity and its international obligations, quoting European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen.

In total, the EU (including member states) has provided 853 million euros to help 92 low and middle income countries, including the Philippines, gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Through COVAX, the Philippines will receive the vaccine for 20 percent of its population, with the first deliveries expected in late February,” the EU said.

The Philippines has so far recorded 528,853 cases of COVID-19, of which 30,368 are considered active infections. The country also recorded 487,611 total recoveries and 10,874 total deaths from the virus.

The country is lagging behind other countries in the region in getting vaccines, but the government hopes to inoculate about 70 million, or two-thirds of the population, this year.

– Report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News and Reuters




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