Australia must go to 'next level' on vaccine support

Burnet Institute

04 February, 2022

Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC is urging Australia to go to the ‘next level’ with its support for international vaccine equity and programs to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to countries that are missing out.

While Australia has achieved one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, less than 10 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, and some African countries are not projected to reach 70 percent coverage until after 2030.

In our region, less than three percent of the population in Papua New Guinea Is fully vaccinated and in Solomon Islands less than nine percent of people are double dosed.

“Neglecting the international vaccine equity issue is enormous … it’s literally killing us,” Professor Crabb told Sky News’ Newsday program.

“It’s the reason we have Omicron, it’s the reason we had Delta before that, and it’s the reason we’ll have new variants later.

“We have to join forces - and we’ve done this to a degree, but it’s got to be next level - with our international colleagues to address this extraordinary degree of inequity. We’re in we’re in real trouble if we don’t fix this.”

Professor Crabb noted Australia has been extremely generous in terms of vaccine donations but said that much more could be done to prevent the emergence of new COVID-19 variants of concern.

“We’re actually one of the more generous countries in giving vaccines to other countries, so this is not about appealing to the Australian Government’s generosity,” Professor Crabb said.

“It is just saying we have much more to do to support these collaborative mechanisms, very trusted, trustworthy mechanisms such as the ACT (Access to COVID-19 Tools) Accelerator and the Covax Facility that can purchase vaccines.

“They create these large pools and they’ve got very good delivery systems, and they’ll deliver it to all the poorest countries in the world.

“This isn’t about whether we can make more AstraZeneca, it’s more, how much we can we contribute to these multilateral mechanisms?”

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Brendan Crabb AC

Director and CEO; Co-Head Malaria Research Laboratory; Chair, Victorian Chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI)




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