We all have the right to live happy and healthy lives. But right now, billions of people in low and lower-middle-income countries are missing out on life-saving vaccines.

That’s because Governments like Australia have been buying up available vaccine doses at rates far greater than what is required to fully vaccinate the population. By the end of 2021, Australia will have nearly 20 million surplus Covid-19 vaccine doses.

The latest variant of concern - Omicron - is a stark reminder that we won’t beat this pandemic until everyone has access to the vaccine. In Africa, where the Omicron variant first emerged, the vaccination rate is at an average of just 4%. In some countries, it’s less than 1%. As Omicron has shown, where vaccination rates are this low, the virus is able to jump more easily from person to person, allowing harmful mutations to take hold.

Despite recent pledges announced by Australia to redistribute doses, these commitments are lacking the urgency this crisis requires, and include vague promises of dates midway through 2022. These timelines mean risking further variants, thousands more daily deaths and a prolongation of the pandemic.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Global organizations including the World Health Organisation, World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund have set a target of vaccinating 40% of the population of low and lower-middle-income countries by the end of 2021. We need an extra 2 billion vaccines now to meet this target.

To achieve this, we’re calling on the Morrison Government to; redistribute all surplus Covid-19 vaccine stocks, sponsor efforts at the World Trade Organization that would allow countries to develop vaccines locally, and extend its contract with biotech giant CSL to continue manufacturing AstraZeneca vaccines domestically.

We have less than 50 days until the end of 2021 and we are challenging the Australian Government to do their part to help deliver 2 billion vaccines to lower-income countries by the end of the year. There is no time to waste. The global vaccines crisis requires that we act together to demand change.   

Take action and demand the Morrison Government redistribute excess vaccine doses and help bring an end to global vaccine inequality now.