STATEMENT: Re Australian Government signatory to COVAX Facility

Melbourne, 22 September, 2020:

Professor Brendan Crabb AC, Chair of Pacific Friends of Global Health, commended Australia’s commitment to global vaccine access:

“The COVAX Facility is our best shot at getting out the other side of this pandemic as quickly and as safely as we can. We should be proud to be part of this history-defining moment of cooperation and solidarity, that ensures that in the race to be immunised against this virus, no one is left behind.

“While it’s Australia’s neighbourly responsibility to promote a healthier and more secure region, this investment in the COVAX Facility will also offer direct and indirect protection for Australians.

“For some of our closest neighbours, the impact of COVID19 threatens to set back decades of progress in the fight against poverty, gender inequality and poor health outcomes. We know that in countries like PNG, deaths from diseases like HIV, TB and malaria will increase as a result of COVID-19, and that pregnancy-related deaths and complications are on the rise due to the COVID-associated strain on health systems.

“The Facility provides Australia – and all participating countries – with an insurance policy against failed vaccine candidates. Instead of needing to hedge our bets on just two vaccine candidates as we are at the moment, we now have access to the world’s largest and most diverse portfolio of candidates.”

ABOUT PACIFIC FRIENDS OF GLOBAL HEALTH
Pacific Friends of Global Health (“Pacific Friends”) serves three of the world’s most significant global health organisations; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (“the Global Fund”), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (“Gavi”) and UNITAID. We promote a greater understanding of the three organisations and aim to mobilise political and financial support in the Pacific region. Our mission is to increase the profile of the three organisations, increase understanding of their distinct and complementary roles in the global health response, showcase synergies between the organisations, raise awareness of the global health issues in the context of the Pacific region and engage with key leaders and decision makers in the government, the media, private sector, academia, civil society organisations, including communities and foundations, in Australia and in due course, in New Zealand.