Date published: 
23 September 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:         

Australians will have greater access to a COVID-19 cure after the Federal Government struck a deal to join a global vaccine facility called COVAX. It's a collaboration between health organisations, including the WHO. It’s designed to ensure fair access to any potential vaccine. Eighty countries are on board so far. It's in addition to the agreements already signed by the Government for the Oxford University and the University of Queensland vaccine candidates. And for more, Health Minister Greg Hunt joins us. Minister, good morning to you.

GREG HUNT:         

Good Morning.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:         

Now how does COVAX work?

GREG HUNT:

So it's an international facility which means that countries pay to be part of it, it then gives them guaranteed access to new vaccines that are developed and then approved through the safety programs. As you say, we’ve already got access to the Oxford and University of Queensland vaccines. This means that we would have access to any of the potentially dozens and dozens of the world’s leading candidates, and it's about protecting Australians, it’s also about making sure that there’s fair access around the world, and so the developing world, the countries in Latin America and Africa and parts of Asia would also have access, which means we’re helping save lives here in

Australia and helping save lives globally.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Okay. So if we’ve already - we, Australia; you, the Federal Government – had already done a deal with Oxford University and the University of Queensland to guarantee that we had- that we could buy the vaccine when it was developed. Why do we need to spend $123 million to be part of this COVAX group?

GREG HUNT:

So it gives additional security and certainty, both for Australia but also for the world. So the reason why it’s very important, we want to have as many eggs in the basket as possible. We’re very confident around the Oxford and the University of Queensland vaccines, but we want to make sure that we’ve got the maximum opportunities for what has been the greatest disruption to any of us since the Second World War. And so it’s providing certainly for Australians, but the facility is also meaning that we’ll only have a truly safe world if we’re able to provide vaccines in the developing world to people who might otherwise not have that access, not have that support. So it supports us, supports other countries that will be less developed, less able to access it and I think it’s a really important contribution to Australia and the world.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Okay. Greg Hunt, that’s all we’ve got time for. Thank you. See you soon.

GREG HUNT:

Thanks Sam.

Ministers: