Australia's Foreign Affairs and Health Ministers have announced an additional A$500 million (US$361 million) to purchase COVID-19 vaccine doses and provide technical assistance to the Pacific region and Timor-Leste. The funding will also support national regulators in assessing vaccine effectiveness and safety.
The new funding is in addition to the A$23 million (US$17 million) already committed for vaccine access to the Pacific. It will be provided over three years and be classified as official development assistance (ODA). The regional vaccine access and health security initiative are in addition to the existing ODA budget, which is capped at A$4.0 billion (US$3.0 billion) annually.
Australia previously committed A$80 million (US$58 million) to the Advance Market Commitment, a financial mechanism of the global Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, to assist poorer countries in obtaining fair access to successful vaccines.
Australia's new funding follows major commitments from China to provide vaccine access to five Southeast Asian countries.