Quad announces measures to boost vaccine partnership
The foreign ministers of India, Australia, Japan and the US reviewed the Quad Vaccine Partnership, which was launched in March last year, during their meeting in Melbourne.
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad on Friday announced measures to boost its vaccine partnership, including the delivery of the first batch of Quad-supported jabs in the first half of 2022 and a Covid-19 Global Action Plan to enhance coordination in recovery efforts.
The foreign ministers of India, Australia, Japan and the US reviewed the Quad Vaccine Partnership, which was launched in March last year, during their meeting in Melbourne. The partnership envisages the production of one billion doses of US-developed vaccines in India with American and Japanese funding.
“We look forward to the delivery of the first batch of Quad-supported vaccines in the first half of this year,” said a joint statement issued after the Quad ministerial meeting.
The statement said a Global Action Plan for enhanced engagement will be launched to coordinate the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. US secretary of state Antony Blinken told a joint news conference that a meeting is being convened on February 14 on the Global Action Plan that will “drive greater leadership and coordination across regions and sectors to end the pandemic”.
The Quad Vaccine Partnership has made “rapid progress in expanding vaccine production at the Biological E Ltd facility in India, which aims to deliver at least 1 billion vaccines by the end of 2022”, the joint statement said.
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In addition, the Quad members have collectively provided more than 500 million vaccine doses out of their pledges to donate more than 1.3 billion doses globally. They are also helping train healthcare workers, combat vaccine hesitancy and augment infrastructure, especially cold chain systems, for “last mile” vaccine delivery, the joint statement said.
Australian foreign minister Marise Payne said her country will bolster the Quad Vaccine Partnership through a further investment in a regional health security initiative for the Indo-Pacific.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar said the meeting had reviewed the Quad’s ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic and “agreed to expedite delivery of safe and affordable vaccines, support capacity building, and augment infrastructure for ‘last mile’ delivery”.
The Quad’s efforts to build resilient supply chains, enhance availability of trusted critical technologies, counter disinformation, and uphold a rules-based multilateral trading system will also contribute to global economic resilience, he added.
The meeting also discussed humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the delivery of vital infrastructure that is climate-resilient, and supporting maritime security for Indo-Pacific partners, including strengthening maritime domain awareness, developing offshore resources, and combating challenges such as illegal fishing.
Jaishankar also said the Quad will strengthen existing people-to-people linkages through education programmes and think tank dialogues.
The joint statement said recent natural disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted the need to “build and maintain resilience against such events”. The Quad members pledged to strengthen collaboration between their response agencies to provide timely and effective humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the region.