The federal government's new $100 million pledge to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has been welcomed by stakeholders and advocacy groups.
The 'End COVID For All' collaboration recently signed a joint letter calling for more action from the government to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The collaboration has welcomed the government's new $100 million commitment to CEPI that will support the organisation's efforts to end COVID-19 and battle future pandemics.
CEPI has now raised over US$1.5 billion.
End COVID For All spokesperson and CEPI chair Jane Halton AO PSM said while there is a long way to go to achieve global vaccine equity, the government's contribution is a step in the right direction.
“This is a smart investment from the Australian Government that will pay dividends by reducing the chance of future outbreaks, COVID variants and pandemics,” she said.
“CEPI’s five-year preparedness plan will accelerate the end of COVID-19 and protect the global community.
“Australia’s pledge will also help CEPI reduce the vaccine development timeline to a 100-day moonshot, develop a library of prototype vaccines, develop vaccines against known threats and support enhancing vaccine manufacturing preparedness.”
“The Australian Government’s commitment to CEPI shows we are learning from the pandemic,” said Burnet Institute director Professor Brendan Crabb.
“Vaccines have proved a powerful tool in controlling COVID-19 but they are far from perfect.
“Vaccines need to be made faster, cheaper, be easier to transport and administer, and they need to more effectively prevent transmission. Had we been able to develop and deploy a COVID-19 vaccine within 100 days, and deliver it equally across the world, millions of lives could have been saved.
“While there is still more work to be done, including investing in COVAX to help tackle COVID-19 vaccine inequity now, and using our partnerships to tackle vaccine hesitancy, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, we are pleased Australia is using its resources to help the world.”
End COVID For All said the government should build on its latest pledge by committing another $250 million to the global COVAC Advance Market Commitment Facility - it has so far committed $130 million to the facility - and $50 million into addressing vaccine hesitancy in the Indo-Pacific.