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COVAX commitment a big step forward

Australia’s commitment of $123 million to spread a COVID-19 vaccine to developing nations is welcome, and should be bolstered by increased aid efforts, according to The End COVID For All campaign.

Australia has confirmed it will participate in the COVAX purchasing mechanism, which involves the World Health Organisation, the vaccine alliance Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

COVAX pools the resources of wealthier and poorer nations to create global demand for two billion vaccines, accelerating the development and distribution of a successful COVID vaccine or vaccines.

Australia’s participation means Australia and poorer nations in our region are far likelier to have early access to a vaccine, said Reverend Tim Costello.

“This announcement helps secure vaccines for Australian citizens, and people in vulnerable nations who have no hope of producing or purchasing vaccines on their own,” Reverend Costello said. “It is an important development and the Australian Government should be commended for meeting its moral obligation to help others also defeat this virus.

“COVID-19 does not respect borders or political systems. It rips through societies like wildfire, wrecking industries and livelihoods. No community is immune and it is in everyone’s interest to suppress this virus as effectively as we can possibly can.

“Australia’s participation in the COVAX effort is incredibly worthwhile. This could be bolstered by additional aid efforts. We know the pandemic is creating serious roadblocks to combating existing epidemics such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. COVID is impeding the economic empowerment of women and girls as resources are stretched to deal with the pandemic.

“The Australian Government should build on this announcement with further support for the heath and economic development aspirations of poorer nations. It is profoundly in Australia’s interests to foster a healthier, more prosperous environment in its region and beyond.”

Indonesia has now recorded more than 9,000 COVID-10 related deaths, and in recent weeks the average number of new cases has risen from about 2,000 per day to more than 3,500.

In the Pacific the economic impact of COVID-19 could result in an additional 1.2 million people in the Pacific and Timor-Leste being pushed into extreme poverty.

Globally already in 2020, the pandemic has pushed almost 37 million people below the

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