Aid organisations across the country have welcomed a new AU$100 million pledge by the Australian Government to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a commitment to support the coalition as it works to pandemic-proof the world. 

The new five-year financial injection was made at the Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit in London on Tuesday, where an additional 12 countries and two philanthropic donors pledged a total of US$1.54 billion. The funds raised put the vaccine-development organisation well on track to reach its intended US$3.5 billion over the next half-decade. 

CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett said the Summit marked a pivotal moment in history.

"For the first time… we have the tools we need to eliminate the risk of future pandemics,” Hatchett said in a statement. “It is vital that we capitalise on the scientific developments we’ve seen over the last two years and seize the rare alignment of political will, practical experience and technical and scientific progress emerging from the [COVID-19] pandemic to prevent such devastation happening again.” 

Chair of CEPI Jane Halton, meanwhile, praised Australia for its “smart investment.”

“Australia’s pledge will 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,” she told End COVID For All, a coalition of Australian organisations — including Global Citizen — all calling on the Australian Government to help end the pandemic in vulnerable nations.

Last month, End COVID For All collated signatures from some of the nation’s leading voices in public health, international development, medicine and business in an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The signatories, including Halton, called for significant funding increases to tackle COVID-19 vaccine inequality and hesitancy across the Indo-Pacific.

The letter itself was spurred by the fact that less than 6% of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated. 

Just 2.8% of the population in Papua New Guinea — Australia’s closest neighbour — have received two COVID-19 jabs. 

While the open letter’s request for a AU$100 million injection into CEPI has been realised, End COVID For All continues to call for Australia to pledge an additional $250 million to vaccine manufacturing and distribution initiative, COVAX AMC Facility.

Allocating $50 million from Australia’s half a billion-dollar health security pool to address vaccine hesitancy likewise remains. 

"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 in a media release Wednesday.


Defeat Poverty

Aid Organisations Welcome New $100 Million Australian Injection to Tackle Vaccine Inequality

By Madeleine Keck