Duterte slams rich countries’ 'selfish' plan to give COVID-19 booster shots

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — President Rodrigo Duterte has criticized the plan of rich countries to administer COVID-19 booster shots to its citizens despite the lack of supply in developing nations.

In his pre-recorded virtual address aired at the 76th United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Duterte said “there is a man-made drought of vaccines ravaging poor countries.”

“Rich countries hoard life-saving vaccines, while poor nations wait for trickles. They now talk of booster shots, while developing countries consider half-doses just to get by. This is shocking beyond belief and must be condemned for what it is – a selfish act that can neither be justified rationally nor morally,” he added.

He also urged rich countries to fully support UN’s COVAX Facility in order to help struggling nations as vaccines are the key to achieving an end to the pandemic.

Local health officials are still studying the possibility of administering booster shots to vulnerable sectors, but medical experts have recommended giving these to healthcare workers and immunocompromised people six to eight months after completing their vaccination.

As of September 21, there are 18.82 million fully vaccinated Filipinos, while 22.97 million have received their first shots.