ASEAN urged to spend $10.5 mln to purchase Covid vaccines

By Huyen Le   June 17, 2021 | 09:11 pm PT
ASEAN urged to spend $10.5 mln to purchase Covid vaccines
Batches of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine are transported from Hanoi to a storage facility of the Pasteur Institute in HCMC, June 17, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
ASEAN member nations have proposed that the bloc spend $10.5 million from its Covid-19 response fund to purchase vaccines as coronavirus outbreaks surface in multiple countries.

The proposal was made at the ASEAN Joint Consultative Meeting hosted online Thursday by current ASEAN chair Brunei, according to a press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The meeting has recognized ASEAN's achievements in developing the community over the past six months, despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Members have also agreed to hasten the progress of purchasing Covid-19 vaccines through agreements with the UNICEF and global vaccine access mechanism Covax.

The group also approved an initiative by Vietnam to organize an ASEAN forum on sub-regional cooperation, and highly regarded the outcomes of a regional conference on the implementation of an ASEAN integration initiative between 2021-2025 chaired by Vietnam last month.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, who led the Vietnamese delegation at the meeting, said ASEAN's foremost priority in today's situation is to recover and foster connectivity, specifically the effective deployment of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Network and the finalization of an ASEAN travel corridor framework for smooth movements within ASEAN.

He also noted the pandemic's impact on widening developmental gaps among ASEAN, adding that the group should support those in remote areas, including the Mekong subregion, to recover post-pandemic and catch up with ASEAN's developmental pace.

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