COVID-19 funding

Australia's total COVID-19 funding commitments

WHO ACT Accelerator

In April 2020, the WHO launched its Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator which brings together various organisations to accelerate development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. As part of this initiative, the WHO has also developed the ACT-Accelerator Commitment Tracker to report on funding commitments made by countries and organisations against ACT-Accelerator Pillar budgets through nine leading global health organisations (CEPI, Gavi, Therapeutics Accelerator, Unitaid, FIND, Global Fund, WHO, UNICEF, GFF).

The ACT-Accelerator is updated every two weeks. It includes four focused pillars: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and health system strengthening. Each pillar is managed by a couple of partners.

As of 29 Oct 2021, the ACT-Accelerator had received total financial commitments of US$18.7 billion towards the 2020-21 budget, with the funding gap of US$14.5 billion.

Australia had committed a total of US$133.4 million in COVID-19 funding to the 2020-21 budget, with US$100 million allocated to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, US$23 to UNICEF, US$5.4 million to FIND (the global alliance for diagnostics), and US$4.8 million to CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations). Australia’s funding accounted for about 0.7% of total commitments to the ACT-Accelerator, and only 17% of its fair share against the 2020-21 ACT-A funding need. It ranked 16th among public donors.

In the budget year from Oct 2021 to Sep 2022, ACT-Accelerator is seeking to raise a total of US$23.4 billion, with 7 billion for diagnostics, 3.5 billion for therapeutics, 7 billion for vaccines, and 5.9 billion for health systems.

Australia has so far contributed US$18 million to the 2021-22 target through UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), with 15 million for vaccines and 3 million for health systems. Although Australia’s ranking among public donors has improved from 16th to 10th, Australia’s contributions only account for 4% of its fair share towards the 2021-22 budget.

Altogether, Australia has committed US$151.6 million to ACT-Accelerator, about 0.8% of a total of US$18.1 billion from government donors. Australia’s ranking in total funding is currently 16th.

Australia’s commitments to COVAX

Australia has committed to support global vaccination with a strong focus on the Indo-Pacific region through four channels:  60 million doses of vaccine sharing, AU$523.2 million bilateral support, AU$100 million through the QUAD vaccine partnership, and AU$130 million to COVAX AMC.

COVAX is a global vaccine sharing initiative co-led by the WHO, Gavi, and CEPI. The Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) is a part of the initiative that supports access to vaccines of the 92 low- and middle-income countries.

ACT Accelerator tracks financial contributions to COVAX, which is its vaccines pillar, and also records vaccine donations made through COVAX.

As shown in the graphs above, Australia has so far contributed a total of US$137 million to COVAX and is ranked at 15th among 56 public donors. There has been no vaccine donations made by Australia through COVAX facility.

Overall, Australia has been a generous contributor of vaccines mainly through bilateral efforts. See this blog for more information about Australia's role in global vaccine equity. In April 2022, Australia pledged an additional AU$85 million funding and at least 10 million vaccine doses to the COVAX AMC. This announcement has not been captured by the ACT-Accelerator yet.

To learn more about Australia’s COVID funding and vaccine contributions, see the Economist’s COVID-19 Health Funding Tracker, UNICEF’s COVID-19 Vaccine Market Dashboard,  Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security’s Vaccine Access for the Indo-Pacific, QUAD country COVID-19 response in Indo-Pacific region, and Think Global Health.