Today, experts from both the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conducted a meeting. In the meeting, both groups exchanged their views on policies. “We further identified opportunities for collaboration on COVID-19 vaccines,” they said.
Both the organization shared a common interest in pursuing a multilateral approach to affordable, fair, and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. They mentioned that the cooperation on vaccines builds upon extensive assistance to Southeast Asia provided by the EU. They further informed that the previous week, the EU had announced a new € 20 million support program on ‘South East Asia Health Pandemic Response and Preparedness’.
Meanwhile, the 23rd ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting on December 1, had confirmed the commitment to continue to support vaccine multilateralism and provision of COVID-19 vaccines as global public goods. Reportedly, the EU contributed € 500 million in grants and guaranteed loans to support the COVAX Facility.”
COVAX aims to accelerate the development and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and free equitable access for every country in the world. As of today, 189 economies are part of the COVAX Facility.
The meeting conducted today, provided a platform for EU’s and ASEAN’s leading policy practitioners, and medical experts for debating strategies and practical aspects of vaccine authorisation, production, and distribution in two separate panels.
“Working together in the prevention, detection, and response to the virus, the ASEAN and EU have coordinated and cooperated at various levels and through various stakeholders in responding effectively to this pandemic,” said His Excellency Kung Phoak, the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.
His Excellency added that Kung Phoak said that the webinar further deepens and facilitates innovations in health cooperation between ASEAN and EU. “It builds a robust relationship in the exchanges of policies towards affordable, fair, and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines,” he added.
Professor Peter Piot mentioned that safe and effective vaccines have the main role to play in emerging from the COVID-19 crisis. He is the special advisor to the President of the European Commission on COVID-19 and the Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. “EU-ASEAN collaboration and leadership are more important than ever in ensuring that everyone, everywhere can benefit from these vital tools,” he added.