Australia supports Pacific COVID-19 vaccine access

The Australian Government has pledged more than half a billion dollars to assist Pacific and South-east Asia countries access COVID-19 vaccines, a stance Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says other countries need to emulate.

In a statement, Australia’s Foreign Affairs and Women Minister, Marise Payne Australian Government said the AUD500 million funding which equates to around FJD800 million, to be rolled out over three years as part of the region’s shared recovery efforts, will facilitate the availability of safe and effective immunisation to itself and countries of the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

Recognising the Indo-Pacific region as the “engine of the new global economy” Payne said its recovery will also contribute to Australia’s health and economic recovery.

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

Echoing the same sentiments via tweeter, and commending Australia’s show of solidarity to Pacific economies, Bainimarama stated “unless our pandemic recovery is inclusive, there won’t be one at all. Australia understands that – so must the rest of the world.”

The availability of vaccines to Australia as well as the Pacific and South-East Asian countries is facilitated via agreements the Australian Government has in place with Astra Zeneca-Oxford and CSL-University of Queensland.

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