End Covid for All: Media Release

MEDIA RELEASE: Australia must answer COVAX call to arms to prevent emergence of new variant

Thursday, January 20, 2022

 

The Australian Government must answer the COVAX Facility’s plea for more funding to help vaccinate the world and prevent the emergence of a new variant of concern, according to the nation’s leading global health and aid organisations.

COVAX this morning announced it requires at least US$5.2 billion by March this year in order to continue delivering vaccines to low-income countries who may not be able to procure doses on their

own. The facility has already delivered more than a billion doses to 144 countries and territories.

The US$5.2 billion will fund a 600 million dose Pandemic Vaccine Pool to ensure there is a reliable supply of vaccines for healthcare workers and the most vulnerable people in the poorest countries.

The funding will also go towards strengthening in-country health systems to get doses into arms rapidly and safely without undermining routine immunisation and other basic health services

. It is also needed to cover ancillary costs such as syringes, transport and insurance for donations.

End COVID For All is calling on the Australian Government to commit our fair share of an additional $250 million to COVAX.

“COVAX is our best shot at vaccinating the world and ending t

he COVID pandemic globally,” said End COVID For All spokesperson Tim Costello.

“It has been proven time and time again, when COVID is left unchecked, it will mutate into more transmissible and vaccine-resistant forms.

“On average, a major new variant has been detected every four months since the WHO characterised COVID-19 as a pandemic.

“Omicron emerged in a largely unvaccinated South Africa and Delta emerged in a largely unvaccinated India. Another variant of concern will no doubt arise unless we ramp up global vaccination efforts.

“Only 9.6 per cent of people in low-income countries have so far received at least one vaccine dose.

“Some African countries won’t reach 70 per cent vaccination until

after 2030. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is projected to hit that target in 2080.

“This is a global catastrophe and Australia not only has a moral obligation to play its part, but the health and safety of our nation depends on it.

“Everyone wants this pandemic to end but without a concerted global effort, it won’t.

“For a fraction of what we are spending on new tanks and nuclear submarines, we can help vaccinate the world, save hundreds of thousands of lives and prevent losing years of development gains we have helped to achieve.”

Ahead of this year’s budget, End COVID For All is also asking the Australian

Government to:

● Commit $50 million from the existing $523m Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative into addressing vaccine hesitancy in the Indo-Pacific

● Commit $100 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) replenishment