President Tommy Remengesau said in the race to secure COVID-19 vaccines, small, developing countries, including Palau should not be left behind.
Remengesau made the call on Wednesday in his address to the virtual United Nations General Assembly’s Debate.
He said that the access to vaccines should be open for all and will protect all , developed and developing nations.
“We know that this pandemic is far from over, and small islands cannot also be left out in the race to seek an effective vaccine. In a global community, parts of the world cannot be made safe in isolation. Vaccine hoarding will harm us all. Palau’s recovery from the economic crisis of COVID-19 will not be possible without sharing in this process to develop a vaccine,” Remengesau said.
The president said though Palau remains COVID-free, the pandemic has wreaked havoc to its economy especially with the border closure impacting supply chains.
“This pandemic has put Palau into a level of isolation we have not known for many, many years. We struggle with disruptions to supply chains for food and essential medicines,’ he said.
He also highlighted the devastating impact to the private sector that is reliant on tourism.
Remenegsau said jobs are lost in the private sector due to the pandemic, which he said could take years to recover.
He said that is why there is a need for the vaccines to be available globally.
Palau, he said , would be participating in COVAX facilities being coordinated by GAVI to ensure they have access to vaccines.
Remengesau said Palau also continues to work with its closest allies, such as the United States to secure the vaccine, once they become available.
Earlier, the United Nations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, and others stressed that it’s a “moral imperative” that everyone have access to a “people’s vaccine.”
However some already find that equal access will be a problem as many rich countries have made advance orders for the vaccine to ensure that their people get immunized first, which could leave the poorer nations behind.