VIENTIANE, Aug 30 (The Vientiane Times/ANN): Australia has pledged A$80 million (more than 529 billion Laos kip) to help developing countries in the region, including Laos, to access safe, effective and affordable coronavirus vaccines, according to the Australian embassy to Laos.
“Australia is proud to support fair access to Covid-19 vaccines for our neighbours in South-East Asia, including Laos, by supporting a crucial new COVAX initiative by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, ” the embassy said on its official Facebook site, a news that was accepted gladly by top health officials from Laos.
“We believe Covid-19 vaccines should be safe, effective and available to all, not just those that can afford to purchase or manufacture it themselves.”
Australia’s financial support for Gavi COVAX Facility Advance Market Commitment (COVAX AMC) will help secure Covid-19 vaccines for Pacific Island and Southeast Asian countries.
Pacific countries eligible for COVAX AMC support include Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Kiribati. Eligible countries from Southeast Asia are Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam, according to a joint media release.
The media release was jointly issued by Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, Minister for Health Greg Hunt, and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke.
“Access to vaccines will play a critical role in the economic recovery of our region from this pandemic, ” the joint press release said.
COVAX AMC forms part of the wider COVAX Facility, a global mechanism designed to enable rapid, fair and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines to end the acute phase of the pandemic by 2021.
Many major countries including Russia and the United States have spent billions of dollars to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
China has been administering a coronavirus vaccine candidate to selected groups of workers since July, according to the Brisbane Times.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told his counterparts in the Mekong countries - Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam - during a video conference this week that China will give priority to providing Covid-19 vaccines to these countries once a vaccine is successfully developed and put into use.
Meanwhile, Russia presented its Covid-19 vaccine called ‘Sputnik V’ earlier this month and officially registered the vaccine on August 11, making it the first country to do so, the Sputnik News Agency reported.
Russia’s Gamaleya research centre has received permission to conduct post-registration clinical trials of the vaccine, in which 40,000 volunteers will take part.
Russian Ambassador to Laos Vladimir A. Kalinin and Lao Health Minister Dr Bounkong Syhavong last week discussed the possibility of providing Laos with the Sputnik V vaccine when the third stage of the certification procedure in Russia is complete. - Vientiane Times/Asian News Network
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