Australian support for COVID-19 vaccine access in the Pacific and Southeast Asia

  • Joint media release with:
  • The Hon Alex Hawke MP, Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Assistant Defence Minister
  • The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
31 October 2020

The Indo-Pacific region is the engine of the new global economy. Ensuring it can recover quickly will stimulate economic activity and restore jobs at home and abroad.

The Australian Government is committed to supporting access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the Pacific and Southeast Asia, as part of a shared recovery for our region from the pandemic.  This will also contribute to Australia’s own health security and economic recovery.

We are securing access to COVID-19 vaccines for Australia, the Pacific and Southeast Asia through a range of advance purchase agreements with manufacturers and through participation in the multilateral COVAX Facility.

Through a regional vaccine access and health security initiative, the Australian Government will provide a range of support including supplying safe and effective vaccine doses and delivering technical support to our regional partners. Australia will assist with assessment of vaccine safety, efficacy and quality by national regulatory authorities, informed by WHO advice.

We are committing an additional $500 million over three years towards this effort on top of the $23.2 million committed in the Budget. The funding will further help ensure that the countries of the Pacific and Timor-Leste are able to achieve full immunisation coverage, and will make a significant contribution toward meeting the needs of Southeast Asia.

The funding is in addition to the Australian Government’s support through the COVAX facility and the Australian Government’s existing Advance Purchase Agreements with Astra Zeneca-Oxford and CSL-University of Queensland.

Ensuring countries in our region can quickly recover from the health and economic impacts of this devastating global pandemic is vital to ensuring our shared economic future in the post-pandemic world.

A fast, safe vaccine rollout in the Pacific and Southeast Asia will mean we are able to return to more normal travel, tourism and trade with our key partners in the region.

This initiative is separate from, and additional to, Australia’s ongoing international development assistance budget.

The funding complements Australia’s support for global efforts to help our region to access vaccines, including through the COVAX Facility and its Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for developing countries. Australia has already committed $123.2 million to the COVAX Facility to secure access to vaccines for Australians and help bring down prices for all countries, and has contributed $80 million to the Facility’s AMC for the benefit of high-risk populations in developing countries.

The Australian Government has also entered into Advanced Purchase Agreements with Astra Zeneca-Oxford and CSL-University of Queensland for over 84 million units of vaccines, which Australia is able to donate to partners in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, should these vaccines prove safe and effective, and units are available above domestic needs.

Media enquiries

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