Australia pledged $352 million towards international funding to fuel COVID-19 vaccine research at a virtual summit of world leaders.
“This is a great shared project by the peoples of the world with a clear purpose: to find that vaccine for covid-19. A safe vaccine, available to all, affordable to all,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a video message.
The US, China and Russia were all noticeably absent from the event, despite the high rates of Covid-19 related deaths recorded in each of those countries.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the 7.4 billion pledged was merely a “down payment”. “To reach everyone, everywhere, we likely need five times that amount,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “the race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus [was] not a competition between countries, but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes.”