PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte called anew for universal access to a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine, saying it was the only way to beat the global health crisis.

In a pre-recorded speech during the special session of the United Nations General Assembly on pandemic response, Duterte warned that “if any country is excluded by reason of poverty or strategic unimportance, this gross injustice will haunt the world for a long time”.

The Philippines, according to Duterte, supported global medical and scientific initiatives forged by the World Health Organization, which includes ACT-Accelerator, and COVAX facility.

“Life saving services must be made accessible to the most vulnerable,” the President said in his remarks aired over state-run PTV-4 early Friday morning .

He said the Philippines would do its part by contributing “to the pooling of global resources and help other countries without pre-conditions.”

“Our first priority is to strengthen the capacity of health systems. Without the vaccine or cure, we can only delay the spread of the disease while we’re opening the economy,” he added.

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