Scott Morrison has urged world leaders to ramp up production of mRNA vaccines such as Pfizers at an Apec meeting to discuss recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday night hosted the online Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders retreat, which also involved the US president, Joe Biden, Russias Vladimir Putin and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.
It is the first time in the regional forums history that a special meeting has been held at leaders level and comes at a time when 12 million Australians are in lockdown due to spiralling outbreaks of the Delta virus variant.
Apecs 21 members have suffered their biggest contraction since the second world war, with 81 million jobs lost and a contraction of 1.9% of GDP.
But Morrison boasted of Australias fiscal recovery during the virtual summit, saying the economy has bounced back to levels higher than before the pandemic.
As this pandemic started and we had these meetings, we spoke about saving lives and saving livelihoods. In many ways thats been achieved, he said. There are more people employed now in Australia than before the pandemic hit.
That has been assisted greatly by the fiscal support packages weve put in place and the successful suppression strategies weve put in place.
Morrison pointed to a successful global vaccination effort as a path out of the pandemic.
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Key to that is the production of more mRNA vaccines like those made by Pfizer and Moderna.
Scaling up the production of vaccines really is the challenge for all of us, he said. We produce the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia, but particularly the mRNA vaccine production capability is something we really have to lift globally, so we can get that to more and more of the population.
Morrison noted Australia itself faced quite a challenge in crossing critical vaccination thresholds.
Only 13.3% of Australias population has been fully vaccinated.
In the meantime, the country would remain in a suppression phase he said, in a nod to the lockdowns in NSW and Victoria.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the Apec leaders vowed to redouble efforts to expand vaccine manufacture and supply and said they would continue to support economies for as long as necessary.
They also said voluntary transfer of vaccine production technology on mutually agreed terms would be encouraged.
The leaders statement said they must pave the way for safe resumption of cross-border travel, but without undermining efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The full Apec leaders summit is due to be held online in November.

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