Shifting the Needle: Protecting Australia by Vaccinating our Region

According to a new Gates Foundation Report, the global pandemic has set the developing world back 25 years in just 25 weeks. Access to emerging vaccines will be critical in reversing that slide.

After decades of reduced spending on overseas aid, the Morrison Government has committed over $1.1 billion to regional vaccination and Covid recovery programs, recognising when it comes to the pandemic Australia is not an island.

Now the challenge is to ensure the funding delivers public health on the ground, so the region can reconnect and drive economic recovery in tourism, agriculture and education.

In our special virtual event, Guardian Australia’s Ben Doherty joined Results Australia CEO Negaya Chorley, public health pioneer Bill Bowtell and, from Delhi, Dr Bobby John to discuss how this commitment can permanently shift the needle when it comes to Australia’s place in the region.

Kate Reagh and April Wong from MinterEllison also joined the panel to discuss the legal breakthroughs achieved through HIV advocacy and lessons for COVID-19.

View the recording below:

The Right to Health – lessons for COVID-19 from the history of HIV

This report looks back on ongoing pandemics – particularly HIV, but also TB – to see what we can learn from them in relation to the Right to Health, and about access to life-saving medications that could be used in ensuring such access globally for drugs and vaccines to treat and prevent COVID-19. Examining the successes and struggles faced by governments and advocates in facilitating access to treatments for other epidemic diseases offer us valuable sight for the road ahead to ensure that COVID-19 Treatment (when it is available) is accessible and affordable for all individuals, irrespective of their socio-economic status and geographic location.

This report was prepared by MinterEllison and Results Australia and launched at an Essential Media ‘Australia at Home’ event on 3 December 2020, ‘Shifting the Needle: Protecting Australia by Vaccinating our Region’.

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The impacts of COVID-19 will be here for some time

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News that a COVID-19 vaccine is heading for testing is to be welcome, but the impact of the past 12 months will take more than a needle to cure.

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