Sharing COVID-19 vaccines with our neighbours
- Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women
- The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care
Australia is committed to supporting our region to respond to COVID-19. We will soon start sharing doses of our Australian manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine with our neighbours.
We will support our partners to vaccinate quickly their highest-risk populations at a time when the international supply of vaccines is constrained.
Initially, Australia will share at least 10,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 doses per week and will scale up as required. These are doses manufactured in Australia. Our region’s health security and economic recovery is intertwined with our own.
We will continue to support the Government of Papua New Guinea in its immediate response to its outbreak, helping to vaccinate front-line healthcare and other essential workers. Australia recently delivered 8,480 vaccine doses, medical personnel and supplies. Supporting Timor-Leste is also a priority due to a sharp increase in community transmission.
COVID-19 vaccine doses will initially be made available to our friends in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, which are facing significant COVID-19 outbreaks. Doses will also be made available in coming weeks for Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. We are also working to procure vaccines though the global market for our neighbours in the wider Pacific and Southeast Asia.
Our vaccine support initiative, alongside ongoing public health measures, will help neighbouring countries protect their populations and restart their economies. There are multiple pathways to full vaccine coverage and we will support our partners’ vaccine choices, in line with stringent regulatory authorities approvals.
We are working closely with the World Health Organization and UNICEF on regional preparedness to receive, store and administer vaccines. The timing and quantity of doses provided by Australia will be aligned with health service readiness to store and administer doses safely. All vaccines under our initiative have been through stringent regulatory authority checks.
This vaccine support for our neighbours is part of Australia’s $623.2 million vaccine initiative for the Pacific and Southeast Asia, including our $100 million Quad Vaccine Partnership. It supplements our $80 million contribution to the multilateral COVAX Facility Advance Market Commitment for developing countries, which aims to provide vaccine coverage for up to 20% of the populations of 92 developing countries by the end of 2021.