Australia should get behind US President Joe Biden’s efforts to end the pandemic by committing more towards global vaccination, the Christian group Micah has urged.
The group advocates for Australia to play a significant role in addressing extreme poverty and injustice around the world.
Biden yesterday (Tuesday) announced his administration will send 20-million Covid vaccines abroad by the end of next month, in addition to its previous commitment to give 60-million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to other countries.
US is sharing 80-million vaccine doses
“This means 80-million US doses will be shared with the world over the coming weeks. However, the President has admitted it is not enough to vaccinate the global population and will coordinate with US allies to develop a global strategy to end the pandemic,” Micah said in a statement.
“Australia needs to step up and play its part by committing our fair share of $200-million to COVAX at its June pledging conference in Tokyo,” said Reverend Tim Costello, Executive Director of Micah Australia and spokesman for the End Covid For All campaign.
COVAX, more properly known as Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid vaccines. One of its founders is the World Health Organisation.
“We (Australia) have been helping our neighbours bilaterally, but this is no substitute for a contribution to COVAX as the pandemic will not end without a concerted international effort,” Costello said.
Global vaccine project not meeting target
“COVAX … should have delivered its 170-millionth dose this week but is not yet at 50 percent of that target.”
He said high-income nations are being vaccinated 25 times faster than low-income nations. The wealthiest 27 countries have approximately 40 percent of the world’s vaccines, while the world’s poorest countries have received just 1.3 percent of the vaccine doses.
According to Costello, Australia has managed to keep Covid under control. But as long as the virus continues to spread and rapidly mutate internationally, the country remains at risk of further outbreaks.
“Whether it’s the Indonesian tsunami or peacekeepers in the Solomons and Timor, Australia has a history of helping our mates when they’re in need. Now is the moment to step up and match the commitments of our strongest allies by contributing our fair share,” he said.