5. an annual reduction in the rate of waste and leakage of agreed vaccines relative to the baseline. As part of the national partnership agreement, states and territories have entered into separate agreements with private hospitals in their legal systems to ensure access to sufficient hospital capacity (beds and manpower) to meet the increased demand for hospital services during the pandemic. The Australian government has sought to ensure the continued viability of private hospitals by agreeing to cover the costs to the sector resulting from the provision of private hospital beds and their workforce for cooperation with public hospitals in the treatment of COVID-19, and by imposing a $1.7 billion guarantee on private hospitals (p. 56). The NPEV is an agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and the States and Territories that aims to “protect the Australian public from the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases by implementing low-cost and effective immunization programs under the national immunization programme.” The remaining scale, an increase in the vaccination rate of young boys and girls for human papillomavirus compared to the baseline, was not assessed during this period due to the ongoing transition of HPV registry data to the Australian immunization registry. This benchmark will be assessed initially in the second year of the agreement. $42.5 million is planned for the continuation of a series of emergency measures (p. 92). These include $15.4 million for the National Incident Room, $6.8 million for a central emergency number for patients and $20.3 million for national communications activities related to COVID-19. In March and April 2020, a series of small and medium-sized business laws allocated $1.9 billion for emergency purchases of emergency medical equipment such as masks (p.
56). This report includes an assessment of the performance of the state and territory on the basis of the performance criteria set out in the National Partnership for Vital Vaccines (NPEV) for the second year of the agreement for the evaluation period from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. The budget provides $1.9 billion for access to COVID 19 vaccines, needles and syringes. Of this total, $1.7 billion is earmarked for national agreements to manufacture two vaccines currently in clinical trials: the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine and the University of Queensland/CSL vaccine. The agreements apply to more than 84.8 million doses, with early access to 3.8 million doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine in January and February 2021. 1 Areas with low vaccine protection are indicated as areas where coverage rates are 5% or less than the national average and with at least 2% of the population for the age group concerned (see Appendix A). As Prime Minister Morrison said, “there is no guarantee that these vaccines will be successful” and “both vaccines must be safe and effective and meet all necessary regulatory requirements before being made available to the public.” However, the government plans to grant free access to a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, if clinical trials prove successful. As a number of other vaccines are being tested, the budget also includes $123.2 million for COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility membership. This initial investment means that Australia is part of a purchasing mechanism and may receive offers to purchase other vaccines if they are available.