Indonesia Pursues Narrowing Gap in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

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Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • Airport officials unload Pfizer vaccines packed in containers on the 63rd stage of arrival agenda in Jakarta, Thursday 16 September 2021. RYIADHY/INFOPUBLIK/KOMINFO

    Airport officials unload Pfizer vaccines packed in containers on the 63rd stage of arrival agenda in Jakarta, Thursday 16 September 2021. RYIADHY/INFOPUBLIK/KOMINFO

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia has striven to narrow the gap in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines between developed and developing countries by raising the issue at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 76).

    In addition to being a principal issue that Indonesia has been fighting for since the pandemic struck, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi continues to push forward the issue regarding her additional responsibilities as co-chair of the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) Engagement Group.

    "Hence, I will continue to speak out about the vaccine equality issue for all countries," Minister Marsudi remarked while delivering a virtual press statement from New York, the United States, on Wednesday.

    Foreign Minister Marsudi noted that at the start of a speech during a High-Level Segment of the General Assembly, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had also highlighted the wide gap in access to vaccines.

    This inequality will certainly hinder global recovery from the pandemic.

    Guterres alluded to how most wealthier countries had been immunized, while over 90 percent of Africa's population has not even received a dose.

    Of the 5.7 billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine administered worldwide, only two percent of them are distributed in Africa.

    Guterres is pushing for a global plan to vaccinate 70 percent of the world's population in the first half of next year.

    "In particular, the UN secretary general underlined the importance of the world's collaboration to meet the expectations of the international community," Marsudi remarked.

    Meanwhile, President of the 76th UN Session, Abdulla Shahid, highlighted several priorities to be given attention during his leadership, specifically the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular, issues pertaining to vaccine gaps, climate change, gender, youth, and the UN reform.

    Unlike last year, when all had been held virtually due to the pandemic, the UN General Assembly this time was conducted in a hybrid system.

    This year's UNGA High-Level Week is scheduled to have 195 participating nations, out of which 107 will partake at the head-of-state level, both attending and delivering virtual statements.

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo will deliver a virtual speech at the 76th UN General Assembly on Wednesday afternoon New York time or Thursday morning Jakarta time.

    From Southeast Asian countries, almost all leaders will virtually deliver their statements, except for the President of Vietnam.

    Read: Indonesian Workers in Malaysia Get Covid-19 Vaccines in Kuala Lumpur

    ANTARA