Indonesia Continues to Fight for COVID-19 Vaccine Equality for All Countries
Indonesia continues to fight for equality of COVID-19 vaccines for all countries through a multilateral forum COVAX AMC Engagement Group, according to Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno L. P. Marsudi.
“As one of the co-chairs of COVAX AMC Engagement Group, Indonesia has a huge moral responsibility to continue to fight for equal access to vaccine for all countries,” she told the press Thursday (10/06) while welcoming the arrival of 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine obtained for free through multilateral cooperation COVAX Facility.
Retno also underscored that there is still a huge gap in COVID-19 vaccine distribution and vaccination across the world.
Out of 2.2 billion doses of vaccine that have been injected, she said, 75 percent of which were injected in 10 developed countries, while only 0.4 percent were injected in low-income countries.
In terms of the percentage of population that has been vaccinated, Retno said that North America has vaccinated 64.33 percent of its total population and Europe has inoculated 52.85 percent, whereas Africa has vaccinated only 2.86 percent and ASEAN has immunized 8.91 percent of its population.
“This percentage is still far from the WHO target that expects at least 10 percent of every country’s population to receive vaccination by September and 30 percent by December this year,” she said.
Retno went on to say that to narrow down the disparity, COVAX AMC Engagement Group through COVAX Facility has pushed for a dose-sharing mechanism, adding that several countries, including the United States, Japan, Denmark, Belgium, and Spain, will distribute their vaccine surplus through COVAX Facility.
“With this COVAX Facility mechanism, those countries will donate their vaccine, then COVAX Facility will manage it to be distributed to other countries that need it,” she said, adding that to support global vaccine equality, Indonesia has also co-sponsored the TRIPS Waiver, a proposal to eliminate intellectual property rights of products and technologies used to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The first discussion on the text of the proposal will be held in a World Trade Organization (forum), probably on 17 June 2021. We all hope that the negotiation for the proposal can be immediately finalized to help to increase vaccine production and distribution significantly,” she remarked. (SLN/UN) (DH/EP)