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Australia Supports Safe, Effective Vaccines in Laos, other Parts of Southeast Asia

Last week the Australian government announced a new AUD500 million Regional Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

“There is no higher priority for countries in our region than access to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Australia’s Foreign Minister and Minister for Women Marise Payne.

“A fast, safe vaccine rollout in the Pacific and Southeast Asia will mean we are able to return to more normal travel, tourism and trade with our key partners in the region,” she said. This initiative will make a significant contribution towards meeting the vaccine needs of Southeast Asia. It will include procurement and delivery of vaccine doses, assessment of vaccine safety and efficacy, and technical support for immunisation policy and planning.

Australia’s Ambassador to Laos Jean Bernard Carrasco said “this is a very significant announcement that boosts Australia’s already significant contribution through our COVID development response. It’s in all our interests to see an Indo-Pacific region with access to safe and effective WHO-approved vaccines.”

The initiative demonstrates Australia’s friendship and commitment to strengthen socioeconomic outcomes and health resilience in Laos.

The current announcement builds on Australia’s AUD80 million commitment to the COVAX Facility Advance Market Commitment, which is designed to help developing countries access COVID-19 vaccine doses to meet the needs of their highest risk populations.

Australia will support equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in Laos through multilateral and regional initiatives to finance, assess, deliver and monitor COVID-19 vaccines.

The support for vaccines is in addition to Australia’s ongoing development assistance for Laos COVID-19 response and economic recovery. Australia is committed to supporting Laos to have equitable access to safe and affordable vaccines.

Source: Lao News Agency