SEOUL: South Korea has shown its commitment to Asean by sharing its experience and promoting partnerships to secure vaccine security, says the country’s Vice Foreign Affairs Minister.
But further cooperation is still critical to effectively deal with possible future outbreaks, Cho Hyun-dong said at the second Vaccine Cooperation Forum in the Indo-Pacifc Region in Seoul.
South Korea has provided strong support to Asean members for vaccine security, providing US$6 million (208 million baht) to strengthen detection capabilities, he said. It has also recognised the importance of sustained financing to prepare for future pandemics by pledging to donate $30 million to the World Bank’s Finance Intermediary Fund.
Dr Tore Godal, the founding CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance & Special Adviser to the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), said the Covid-19 pandemic had dramatically increased the amount of Covid-19 vaccines in the global market.
Last year saw 10.8 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses administered to adults alone, he said.
“The big market [for Covid-19 vaccines] comes with the thought of how to make it sustainable,” he said. “Every region should have their own vaccine security [policy].”
“Regions should be prepared for a new pandemic by making sure that they have enough vaccine supplies to save people’s lives.”
Dr Sunate Chuenkitmongkol, deputy director of the National Vaccine Institute in Thailand, said having vaccine security doesn’t mean a country should have its own vaccine manufacturing plant.
She said it should be about creating access for countries that need them.
She said that Asean adopted the Leaders’ Declaration on Asean Vaccine Security and Self-Reliance on Nov 2, 2019, two months before the Covid-19 pandemic began.
She said the declaration envisaged a regional platform to strengthen and develop vaccine cooperation in the region.
The framework aims to establish a regional platform for information sharing and knowledge exchange among Asean member states and global stakeholders, she added.