The Quad or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue comprises India, the US, Japan, and Australia.
As per the Johns Hopkins university data, the deadly virus has so far infected 231,154,501 people and killed 4,737,927 globally.
''Our partnership on COVID-19 response and relief marks a historic new focus for the Quad. We launched the Quad Vaccine Experts Group, comprised of top experts from our respective governments, charged with building strong ties and better aligning our plans to support Indo-Pacific health security and COVID-19 response,'' the Quad leaders said in a joint statement after their first in-person meeting hosted by US President Joe Biden on Friday.
''In doing so, we have shared assessments of the state of the pandemic and aligned our efforts to combat it, reinforced shared diplomatic principles for mitigating COVID-19 in the region, and actively improved coordination of our efforts to support safe, effective, quality-assured vaccine production and equitable access, in close collaborations with multilateral efforts including the COVAX Facility,'' they said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga, and US President Biden in the statement said in addition to doses financed through COVAX, the Quad grouping has pledged to donate more than 1.2 billion doses globally of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.
''And to date, we have delivered nearly 79 million safe, effective, and quality-assured vaccine doses to countries in the Indo-Pacific as part of those commitments,'' they said.
In their joint statement, the Quad leaders said due to the Quad Vaccine Partnership's financing of increased manufacturing capacity at the Hyderabad-based Biological E LTD, additional production in India will come online later this year.
"In line with our March announcement, and recognizing the continuing global supply gap, we will ensure this expanded manufacturing is exported for the Indo-Pacific and the world, and we will coordinate with key multilateral initiatives, such as the COVAX facility, to procure proven safe, effective and quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries. We also recognize the importance of open and secure supply chains for vaccine production," they said.
The Quad leaders said they have accomplished much to date despite months of pandemic hardship throughout the region and world. They welcome Biological E LTD's production, including through the Quad investments, of at least one billion safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.
"Today, we are proud to announce an initial step towards that supply that will immediately help the Indo-Pacific and the world to end the pandemic,'' they said.
The Quad also welcomed India's announcement to resume exports of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, including to COVAX, beginning in October 2021.
On Monday, India said it will resume the export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines in the fourth quarter of 2021 under the ''Vaccine Maitri'' program and to meet its commitment to the COVAX global pool.
The joint statement said Japan will continue to help regional partners purchase vaccines through USD 3.3 billion of COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan. Australia will deliver USD 212 million in grant aid to purchase vaccines for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In addition, Australia will allocate USD 219 million to support last-mile vaccine roll-out and lead in coordinating the Quad's last-mile delivery efforts in those regions.