There are very real geographic, logistical and capacity-related constraints in the region, however Australia is committed to addressing these.
Australia is working closely with partner governments in the Pacific and Southeast Asia to identify priority gaps, needs and issues in planning for COVID-19 vaccine procurement and delivery.
In late 2020, Australia held consultations with 18 countries across the region to determine the level and type of assistance required by individual countries from the Regional COVID-19 Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative. These meetings have helped determine the partnership approach in responding to different countries' priorities, supporting their planning and vaccine dose allocation strategies.
A Vaccine Response Plan has been developed for each country, outlining each partner’s support.
A global recovery needs a global response.
Australia is not just working closely with regional neighbours, but also with other countries with interests in the region, including New Zealand, the United States and France.
Together we are working to ensure the Pacific and Southeast Asia have comprehensive access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Australia is also continuing to work with multilateral organisations and institutions to design and implement the Initiative. This includes the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, World Bank, ADB and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Australia is leveraging existing bilateral and regional development programs, so the support is coordinated, efficient and effective.
Some of Australia’s leading scientific institutions are also key delivery partners in the Pacific. This includes the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), a Stringent Regulatory Authority recognised by WHO, and Australia’s National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). These respected and world-leading institutions are available to provide technical assistance to those countries who request it, ensuring the vaccines are stored, transported, and administered safely.
Any adverse events that may arise during vaccine roll-out will be swiftly and thoroughly investigated.
Photo caption: UNICEF worker prepares auto-disable syringes for COVAX delivery, February 2021.
Photo credit: UNICEF.