Professor Brendan Crabb AC in Kokopo, PNG visiting a MCH clinic
“Vaccines are not magic force shields for individuals, none of us are safe until everyone’s safe.“ - Professor Brendan Crabb AC
The Australian Government will contribute AUD$80m to a global initiative that will guarantee fair access to safe and effective COVID vaccines for developing countries to ensure that the world’s poorest don’t miss out.
Burnet Institute joins the Pacific Friends of Global Health in welcoming the funding commitment to the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment, a global vehicle designed to provide rapid, fair and equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, once they are approved and regulated for use.
COVAX is led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Under the initiative, doses will be distributed equitably as they become available between the higher-income, self-financing countries that will pay for their doses, and developing countries that would otherwise be unable to afford to pay for the vaccine. So far, 172 countries have expressed their interest to take part in the initiative.
Effective COVID-19 vaccines are urgently needed to protect populations and restart economies.
This commitment will ensure that cost is not a barrier to accessing COVID-19 vaccines for poorer countries, including for some of Australia’s regional neighbours.
Without global vaccine uptake, the pandemic and its impacts on health, the economy, security and the movement of people and goods will continue unabated.
Burnet Institute Director and CEO, and Pacific Friends of Global Health Chair, Professor Brendan Crabb AC said: “Vaccinating all those in our region is essential, not just to protect those in need who deserve rich country support, but it is also in our own enlightened self-interest”.
“It is important that in low income settings, COVID-19 is likely to cause far more suffering from other diseases than from COVID-19 itself. Health systems just can’t cope,“ Professor Brendan Crabb AC said.
“We desperately hope that new and additional funds will be committed to the aid budget to fund this and other COVID commitments for the region because we know that deaths from malaria, TB and HIV have already been increasing due to the diversion of testing and workforce attention to COVID in countries such as PNG.”
The aim of the COVAX Facility is to fairly distribute two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines to all participating countries by the end of 2021.
Under the initiative, participating governments are guaranteed access to cover priority populations, such as health care workers and vulnerable groups. A portion of doses will also be reserved for emergency and humanitarian use.
Issued by Pacific Friends of Global Health.