Australia should get behind US President Joe Biden’s efforts to end the pandemic by committing more towards global vaccination.
President Biden today announced his administration will send 20 million COVID vaccines abroad by the end of next month, in addition to its previous commitment to give 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to other countries.
This means 80 million US doses will be shared with the world over the coming weeks. However, the President has admitted it is not enough to vaccinate the global population and will coordinate with US allies to develop a global strategy to end the pandemic.
End COVID For All campaign spokesman Reverend Tim Costello said: “Australia needs to step up and play its part by committing our fair share of $200 million to COVAX at its June pledging conference in Tokyo.
“We have been helping our neighbours bilaterally but this is no substitute for a contribution to COVAX as the pandemic will not end without a concerted international effort.
“COVAX – the global vaccine equity scheme – should have delivered its 170 millionth dose this week but is not yet at 50 per cent of that target.
“High income nations are being vaccinated 25 times faster than low income nations. The wealthiest 27 countries have approximately 40 per cent of the world’s vaccines, while the world’s poorest countries have received just 1.3 per cent of the vaccine doses.
“Australia has managed to keep COVID under control but as long as the virus continues to spread and rapidly mutate internationally, we are at risk of further outbreaks.
“Double and triple mutations of the virus have been reported in India. One of these variants, B.1.617, has now been identified in at least 60 countries.
“This is a threat to global efforts to end the pandemic because they could render current vaccines ineffective.
“Whether it’s the Indonesian tsunami or peacekeepers in the Solomons and Timor, Australia has a history of helping our mates when they’re in need. Now is the moment to step up and match the commitments of our strongest allies by contributing our fair share.”