Aotearoa New Zealand pledged a further NZ$9 million to the COVAX facility Wednesday, a move that will allow the vaccine equity fund to boost the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries and brings the nation’s total contribution to $26 million.
"New Zealand remains cognisant of the dangers of COVID-19, especially as new variants continue to emerge,” Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta wrote in a press release. “No one is safe from this virus until we all are, and this funding will mean more people in developing countries will be able to protect themselves and their families at this crucial time.”
Mahuta added: “Equity of access to vaccinations must be a core feature of a global response.”
COVAX, the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organisation and run in partnership with vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and UNICEF.
The facility aims to ensure 92 of the world's most vulnerable nations have the same access to vaccines as the world’s rich.
By the end of this year, COVAX plans to have delivered 2 billion doses.
Equitable access to vaccines is essential to ending the global 🌏 #COVID19 pandemic. Aotearoa NZ 🇳🇿 is contributing an additional $9m to #COVAX so more people in developing countries can protect themselves & their families. #manaakitangahttps://t.co/VVjRiFoX2U— Nanaia Mahuta (@NanaiaMahuta) December 1, 2021
In June, COVAX held a replenishment summit in the hope of raising critical funds to continue its mission.
Governments, private sector companies, and philanthropic foundations united for the virtual event, raising US$2.6 billion — with a significant $800 million coming from Japan and almost $200 million from European Union nations like Estonia, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, and Spain.
COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the world, at well over 250 million global cases.
New Zealand has recorded 11,000 COVID-19 cases and 44 deaths since the pandemic began last March. However, the nation's closest neighbours haven't been quite so lucky, with Papua New Guinea currently amid a rising COVID-19 outbreak that has now claimed the lives of 546 people.
Papua New Guinea, home to 9 million people, has just 500 doctors and under 4,000 nurses.
The country reportedly has only 14 ventilators, according to a 2020 article published by the Brisbane Times.