Federal government must increase funding to COVAX or risk mutations and more lockdowns

Ellen RansleyNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

The federal government should commit an extra $250m and 20 million vaccine doses to developing nations or risk current vaccines being rendered ineffective and years of potential lockdowns.

That’s the advice from a team of 77 epidemiologists in 28 developing countries, two-thirds of which say if action is not taken now, the virus would mutate even further within a year.

The End Covid for All campaign said vaccinating the world is the only way to prevent future mutations, as current rates indicate that more than 19 low-income countries won’t reach 70 per cent vaccination until after 2030.

It’s estimated just 2 per cent of people in low income countries have received a first dose of a Covid vaccine.

Camera IconWhile vaccine rates in Australia and other developed countries continue to rise, developing nations are being left behind. NCA NewsWire / Adam Yip Credit: News Corp Australia

Reverend Tim Costello said the longer developed countries like Australia allowed developing nations to lag behind in their vaccination rates, the more chance of mutation there was.

“That is why it is vital the Australian government steps up and provides a fair share commitment of an additional $250m and 20 million vaccine doses to COVAX,” he said.

“COVAX is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure doses are available to both higher-income and lower-income countries who may not otherwise be able to procure vaccines on their own.

“The Delta strain, and the havoc it has wreaked across Australia, shows we cannot allow Covid to run rampant and mutate overseas.”

Tim Costello
Camera IconReverend Tim Costello. Sam Rosewarne. Credit: News Corp Australia

Australia has committed $623.2m over three years to assist countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia to access Covid-19 vaccines.

Reverend Costello said there would also be “devastating” economic consequences if further action was not taken.

“Even under the most optimistic scenario, we stand to lose between $7.6bn and $33.7bn of our GDP as a result of inequitable vaccination and an unnecessary prolonging of the pandemic,” he said.

“We cannot ignore the moral imperative we have to help our poorest neighbours.

“But with a concerted, realistic global push, we can vaccinate nine in 10 people across the world by the end of next year.”

Originally published as Federal government must increase funding to COVAX or risk mutations and more lockdowns

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