End COVID For All welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment of AUD$100 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to help the organisation end COVID-19 and battle future pandemics.
The pledge was made overnight at the Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit and will potentially save millions of lives and help prevent global economic crises.
Thanks to commitments from countries including Australia, the US, UK, Japan and Nigeria, CEPI has now raised more than US$1.5 billion.
It comes after a coalition of Australia’s leading epidemiologists, GPs, global health, business, faith, development and aid organisations – brought together by End COVID For All – called on the Prime Minister in an open letter last month to commit more to the global effort.
End COVID For All spokesperson and CEPI chair Professor Jane Halton said while there is a long way to go to achieve global vaccine equity, this is a step in the right direction.
“This is a smart investment from the Australian Government that will pay dividends by reducing the chance of future outbreaks, COVID variants and pandemics,” Professor Halton said.
“CEPI’s five-year preparedness plan will accelerate the end of COVID-19 and protect the global community.
“Australia’s pledge will also help CEPI reduce the vaccine development timeline to a 100-day moonshot, develop a library of prototype vaccines, develop vaccines against known threats and support enhancing vaccine manufacturing preparedness.”
End COVID For All spokesperson and Burnet Institute director Professor Brendan Crabb said the faster a vaccine can be deployed and made available to everyone, the faster a pandemic can be controlled.
“The Australian Government’s commitment to CEPI shows we are learning from the pandemic,” Professor Crabb said.
“Vaccines have proved a powerful tool in controlling COVID-19 but they are far from perfect.
“Vaccines need to be made faster, cheaper, be easier to transport and administer, and they need to more effectively prevent transmission. Had we been able to develop and deploy a COVID-19 vaccine within 100 days, and deliver it equally across the world, millions of lives could have been saved.
“While there is still more work to be done, including investing in COVAX to help tackle COVID-19 vaccine inequity now, and using our partnerships to tackle vaccine hesitancy, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, we are pleased Australia is using its resources to help the world.”
End COVID For All is now urging the Australian Government to capitalise on the momentum of the international effort to help improve dangerously low vaccination rates with less than 14 per cent of people in low income countries having received one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
The Australian Government should:
- Invest $250 million in the COVAX AMC Facility. COVAX leverages global expertise in distributing and administering vaccines to lower transaction costs, mitigate the risk of supply shortages, get a better price and allocate vaccines equitably. This is the best global mechanism Australia can fund to get vaccines to low-income countries.
- Leverage our strategic partnerships and commit $50 million from the existing $523m Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative into addressing vaccine hesitancy in the Indo-Pacific.