“That’s up to 60 million vaccine doses for our region between now and the end of 2022,” Mr Morrison said.
Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Zed Seselja, said ensuring the region was vaccinated was “the right thing to do”.
“To date we have shared over 1.7 million vaccines with the Pacific and Timor-Leste. As rollouts ramp up across the Pacific, Australia is ensuring our partner nations have access to the vaccines they need, and the means to deliver them.”
So far, Australia has donated 3.2 million doses to countries in the region.
It’s unclear which vaccines Australia will donate or purchase as part of the 40 million announced by Mr Morrison, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not respond to questions by the time of publication.
As well as the Pfizer and AstraZeneca deals, the federal government has agreed to purchase 25 million Moderna doses across this year and 2022. The country also has a deal for 51 million doses of the Novavax protein-based vaccine. First doses were meant to arrive in the second half of this year, but the program has been delayed and is still in ongoing final trials.
Through the COVAX facility Australia has access to enough doses to immunise half the population with a two-dose regime. The federal government has already drawn on this facility to gain access to 500,000 Pfizer doses to use in the national rollout.
Up to 15 million doses have been committed to Timor-Leste and the Pacific, 1.5 million have been committed to Vietnam and 2.5 million will go to Indonesia. So far, donations have included Indonesia, which has received 1 million doses, Fiji (861,000 doses) and Timor-Leste (577,850 doses).
Australia has also provided medical equipment including rapid antigen test kids and oxygen-related medical equipment and committed $130 million to the COVAX facility to help procure and distribute vaccines to low and middle-income countries.