Caritas Australia is urging the Morrison Government to commit to supporting developing countries in the fight against COVID-19 before the virus mutates and renders current vaccines ineffective.
Caritas is a member of the End COVID for All campaign, which yesterday released a new report titled “A shot of hope – Australia’s role in vaccinating the world against COVID-19”.
Two-thirds of epidemiologists surveyed in the report believe that the virus may mutate in less than a year if action is not taken now to prevent its spread in developing countries.
“According to the epidemiologists consulted for the report, the best method to prevent COVID-19 further mutating is vaccination, but many low-income countries won’t reach 70 per cent vaccination until after 2030, so it is essential we intervene now,” Kirsty Robertson, Caritas Australia’s chief executive, said.
“We know from our work with partners in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines that misinformation is rampant and getting enough vaccine doses to remote and regional communities can be extremely challenging, which has slowed down the vaccination response in both countries. This leaves the virus ample time to mutate and spread, putting already vulnerable communities into an even more vulnerable position,” Ms Robertson said.
“This is why the End COVID For All campaign is urging the Australian Government to immediately commit more funds and more vaccine doses to COVAX, the only global initiative working with governments and manufacturers to ensure vaccines are available to lower-income countries who may not otherwise be able to afford enough doses for their population.”
Caritas Australia is urging the Government to commit to $250 million and 20 million vaccines to the COVAX facility as part of a “commitment to the long- term response and recovery” in developing countries.
The report is available at https://endcovidforall.com/.