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FIRING LINE: US must donate vaccine surplus

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If there is one good move Donald Trump made before leaving the White House, it must be his administration’s America First-style acquisition of anti-COVID vaccines. It paved the way for an efficient COVID-19 immunization program that is fast reaching its targets across the United States, whether the gauge is herd immunity or giving the jab to every single American who wants it.

The US National Security Council is aware of the prospect that in months, or maybe just weeks, America will have one of the biggest vaccine surpluses in the world. Being the leader of the free world, I see the US on the brink of a golden opportunity, once again, to rescue countries sinking deep into this global health crisis.

Wisely, the Biden administration must embrace this opportunity with great responsibility. Imagine how from hoarder of the world’s most coveted serum, Uncle Sam is on the cusp of being a hero by sharing his lot with a sick and dying global population struggling for access to limited doses of vaccines.

Of course, equitably distributing America’s excess stock of COVID-19 jabs among countries worst hit by the pandemic could be tricky. But that is far less challenging than finding itself explaining to humanity why it should end up with an expired hoard of vaccines while thousands die in developing countries every day.

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For countries like the Philippines, which has not yet vaccinated even one percent of its population of 110 million people, any donation of vaccines at this time is welcome and comes at a very critical time.

The surge in daily COVID-19 cases in the country has continued and reached unprecedented heights during this pandemic. And while most Filipinos still believe America is their country’s best friend, it is China that has donated one million doses of its COVID-19 jabs to the Philippines.

Yes, we have America as our No. 1 defender and ally at arms in the South China Sea when war breaks out. But the war on the pandemic has been raging long enough on our shores to take more than 14,700 lives to date. Is the US even considering sending a fraction of its overstock of vaccines our way?

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Kudos to Rep. Joy Myra S. Tambunting of Paranaque City’s 2nd District for ranking 7th in the House of Representatives in terms of number of bills and resolutions filed as principal sponsor in the 18th Congress. As of April 8, 2021, the congresswoman has filed a total of 420 House measures.

Before going into a congressional break, five measures authored by Rep. Tambunting passed on third and final reading by the House were transmitted to the Senate. These were: HB 8943 – An Act Requiring Disaster-Related Information To Be Stated In Accessible Language To Ensure Public Understanding Thereof; HB 8990 – An Act Establishing Evacuation Centers In Every City And Municipality, And Appropriating Funds Therefor; HB 8817 – An Act Providing Protection For Freelance Workers; HB 8999 – An Act Instituting The Medical Reserve Corps, Appropriating Funds Therefor And For Other Purposes; and HB 8736 – An Act Establishing A Rental Housing Subsidy Program For Informal Settler Families And Appropriating Funds Therefor.

She had pushed for these measures, believing they would help the country deal better with various problems such as the pandemic, natural disasters, economic turmoil, and the housing crisis.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at httpS://www.thephilbiznews.com

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