ASEAN to allocate USD10.5 million for COVID-19 vaccines

Azlan Othman

ASEAN has decided to spend USD10.5 million from its coronavirus response fund to buy Covid-19 vaccines for member nations.

It made the decision on Thursday at the 6th ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group of Public Health emergencies (ACCWG-PHE), which discussed COVID response initiatives.

The fund was set up at the ASEAN Summit in June last year to mitigate the shortage of medical equipment, developing treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 and preparing for future emergencies. It has received contributions of over USD15 million from member countries and partners.

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

The ASEAN COVID-19 response fund, an initiative adopted in 2020 during the year Vietnam held the chairmanship role, has so far received USD15 million from ASEAN members and partners.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Quoc Dung welcomed the proposal of Brunei Darussalam, ASEAN Chair of 2021, to use global multilateral mechanisms such as COVAX as a vaccine provider, to help meet Southeast Asia’s demands. He added that Vietnam is completing the procedures to announce a list of medical equipment that can be contributed to the ASEAN reserve warehouses of medical supplies, Vietnamese media reported.