What is the Regional COVID-19 Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative?
The Regional COVID-19 Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative will support economies to reopen and ensure stability. Australia has committed $523.2 million over three years to fund the provision of vaccines and provide technical support to assess vaccine safety and efficacy, prepare for vaccine introduction and to roll-out the vaccines in Indo-Pacific.
What countries are included in the Initiative?
Pacific: Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. We have also committed to Timor-Leste.
Southeast Asia: Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
Why are some countries in the Pacific not included in the Initiative?
We are ensuring the Pacific receives appropriate vaccine coverage will be critical to bringing the pandemic to an end. Our Initiative is focused on the independent countries of the Pacific.
We are working closely with the United States, France and New Zealand to ensure the needs of all Pacific island countries, territories and freely associated states will be fully covered.
US and French governments have committed to meeting the needs of their territories and freely associated states under their domestic vaccination programs, and rollouts are already underway in the United States and French territories and the United States Compact States.
Australia has contributed $80 million to the COVAX Facility’s Advance Market Commitment aimed at low and middle income countries, which will provide over one million doses to the Pacific in 2021.
Will Australia sell the vaccines to our neighbours?
Australia is well placed to provide support in the region. Our economic and social ties mean that ensuring vaccines access for the selected countries is central to our shared prosperity, which depends particularly on the freedom of movement. Our vaccine support does not include the sale of vaccines, and our response is led by our partner countries.
Is Australia only providing funding for the procurement of vaccines?
Australia has committed a holistic package to countries in the Indo-Pacific to support their vaccine rollouts. This package includes not only supporting vaccine procurement, delivery, and distribution but also measures to assist in the complex health sector preparatory and public awareness activities required.
When will the vaccines procured under this Initiative be delivered to the region?
Australia is working closely with relevant ministries across the Pacific and Southeast Asia to plan how we can best support countries to access and roll out vaccines. It is anticipated that vaccines procured by the COVAX Facility’s AMC will be among the first available to many countries in our region, noting that the final allocation is subject to WHO Emergency Use Listing approval of vaccines, country readiness, supply volumes, and shipping and logistics.
The timing of the availability of approved vaccines to the region, including through Australia’s vaccine access initiative, will depend on a number of factors, including:
- the speed of delivery of vaccines from the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) to eligible countries.
- our capacity to purchase vaccines from manufacturers (through agents such as UNICEF) outside our own advance purchase agreements; and
- Australia’s capacity to donate vaccines from our own supply pipeline while meeting domestic requirements.
I’m an expat Australian living overseas, will I receive a vaccine through this Initiative?
Australians living overseas should consult with your local health professionals about vaccines available in your host country. Read more on smarttraveller.gov.au.