Australia Delivered Only 8% of Covid Vaccines Pledged to Developing Countries

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Only 8% of the 60 million Covid-19 vaccines the Australian government has promised developing countries in the region have been delivered.

Australia has pledged to deliver 40 million doses from its own stockpile and 20 million doses for purchase under a new partnership with Unicef ​​to countries in South East Asia and Pacific by the end of 2022.

But less than 5 million doses of the 40 million committed from Australia’s stockpile have been delivered to developing countries, as the country’s vaccination rollout exceeds 70% of first-dose targets. None of the additional 20 million doses have been delivered and are expected to be deployed “in the next few months,” a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

A recently released report by the People’s Vaccine Alliance found that pharmaceutical companies and rich countries had delivered only one in seven immunization doses promised to developing countries as part of the Covax global vaccine sharing initiative.

Some 12% of the doses promised by Western pharmaceutical companies had been supplied to Covax, the initiative designed to help low- and middle-income countries achieve equitable access to Covid vaccines.

Of the 1.8 billion donations of Covid vaccines pledged by rich countries, some 261 million doses had been delivered. Australia had pledged $ 130 million to Covax, of which $ 44 million had so far been dispersed.

Covax had delivered 86 million doses of the stock to the Pacific and Southeast Asia, partially funded by Australia.

Oxfam Australia CEO Lyn Morgain said it was a “deeply distressing figure” as the 70% and 80% immunization targets were met in all states and territories.

“It’s devastating… we know that among the poorest in the world, only 1% of the population has been vaccinated,” she said.

“This is not a complex or difficult problem. It is a problem of political failure. Globally, we need to decentralize manufacturing – share technology, share patents, facilitate decentralized access.

“The pandemic… set developing countries back decades… vaccination is a key intervention. When we are able to reconsider travel, we will return to a much more inequitable world. “

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This month, Australia confirmed that it will halt production of the AstraZeneca vaccine once the agreed 50 million doses have been manufactured, with all additional doses to be delivered to the region.

Two months earlier, the Commonwealth had been criticized for purchasing 500,000 doses of Pfizer from the Covax stockpile.

Morgain said the refusal of the EU and major pharmaceutical companies to support the lifting of patents on vaccines and Covid-related technologies had been a major disruptor to the roll-out of vaccination in developing countries.

“The failure of donations from rich countries and the failure of Covax have the same root cause – we have ceded control of the vaccine supply to a small number of pharmaceutical companies, which prioritize their own profits,” she declared.

“These companies are not producing enough to immunize the world, they are artificially limiting supply and they will always put their wealthy customers on the front line.

“The only way to end the pandemic is to share technology and know-how with other qualified manufacturers so that everyone, everywhere, can have access to these life-saving vaccines. “

US President Joe Biden rallied support to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population by September 2022 at the United Nations General Assembly in September.

The World Health Organization has said it will be a global priority to immunize 40% of the population of all countries by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid-2022 as part of immunization targets. recently revised.

Just under 50% of the world’s population had received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. But among people in low-income countries, the figure was less than 3%.

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UNAIDS Chief Director Winnie Byanyima said the developing world could not count on “the charity of the rich countries and the pharmaceutical companies”.

“Rich nations and corporations shamefully fail to keep their promises while blocking the real solution; ensure that developing countries have the capacity to manufacture their own vaccines, ”she said.

“As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are dying from Covid-19. It is more than appalling. “


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