COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics need to be available for the people who need them most. This will end the pandemic sooner, for everyone.
Today, access to COVID-19 vaccines is limited by political and commercial interests and restricted further by purchase agreements struck by wealthy countries.
Australia has made deals for enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate the population three times over. This level of vaccine hoarding will take vaccines away from countries and people who need it now – and could prolong the pandemic by years.
Meanwhile, monopolies and intellectual property rights are preventing the massive upscaling of production needed to make enough doses. While COVID-19 vaccines have benefitted from substantial public taxpayer money for their development, clinical trials and manufacturing, the funding has not come with any provisos to ensure they are made affordable and available to those who need them most.
The fact is, there are a limited number of COVID-19 vaccines and to overcome this pandemic, we need to work globally to ensure that high-risk and vulnerable people are vaccinated first.