Improving access to vaccines in the Indo-Pacific

  • Joint media release
  • Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women
  • The Hon Alex Hawke MP, Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Assistant Defence Minister

The Indo-Pacific region will have improved access to vaccines through Australia’s new pledge of $300 million to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Gavi is a public-private partnership that provides access to vaccines for low-income countries. Over the past two decades, Gavi has supported 16 countries in the Indo-Pacific with more than US$3 billion in vaccine and health system support, and has directly contributed to the health of over 318 million children in our region through immunisation.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce Australia’s contribution to this global effort at the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 tonight. Australia welcomes the United Kingdom’s leadership in hosting the summit.

Gavi will invest US$800 million from 2021 to provide access to vaccines for 140 million children in the Indo-Pacific region over the next five years. In Indonesia, 4 million children will access pneumococcal vaccines at a quarter of the commercial cost. In Papua New Guinea, 400,000 children will access life-saving vaccines for the first time. Australia’s commitment, which draws on our existing development budget, will help to ensure that Gavi maintains a strong focus on our region.

In response to the disruption of COVID-19, Gavi will provide US$200 million to continue existing immunisation programs where possible, and coordinate catch-up immunisation campaigns once conditions allow. Gavi will also play a lead role in ensuring any future COVID-19 vaccine is affordable, available and accessible to all countries — including in the Indo-Pacific.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne welcomed the partnership, saying that Australia is stepping up work alongside our neighbours as they respond to the COVID-19 challenge while continuing to manage other preventable diseases.

“Immunisation saves lives,” Minister Payne said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has served as yet another reminder that investing in vaccine access is critical to regional health security.”

Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke said Australia was pleased to renew its commitment to Gavi.

“Our mission is to see that all children, regardless of where they live, have access to life saving vaccines. I am particularly pleased that for our Pacific family and Timor-Leste, the Alliance has enabled more than 1.5 million children to be vaccinated,” Minister Hawke said.

Media enquiries