UNICEF, partners work to deliver Covid-19 vaccines

Foreign, News

UNITED NATIONS – The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is working with more than 350 partners, including major airlines, shipping lines, and logistics associations from around the world, to deliver the Covid-19 vaccines to over 92 countries, as soon as doses become available.

UNICEF Supply Division director, Etleva Kadilli, has   highlighted the importance of the partnership to ensure the capacity for the massive undertaking.

“As work continues to develop Covid-19 vaccines, UNICEF is stepping up efforts with airlines, freight operators, shipping lines and other logistics associations to deliver life-saving vaccines as quickly and safely as possible,” she said.

The UNICEF official said the invaluable collaboration “will go a long way to ensure that enough transport capacity is in place for this historic and mammoth operation.”

“We need all hands on deck as we get ready to deliver Covid-19 vaccine doses, syringes, and more personal protective equipment to protect frontline workers around the globe,” she added.

To kick off the preparations, UNICEF along with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) briefed major global airlines last week on the expected capacity requirements and discussed ways to transport close to 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine doses next year. This is in addition to the 1 billion syringes that need to be transported by sea-freight.

COVID-19 VACCINES. Henrietta Fore (C), Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), addresses a discussion on vaccine misinformation and growing distrust at the UN headquarters in New York on June 28, 2019. UNICEF is working with over 350 partners to deliver Covid-19 vaccines once the doses become available next year. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

 

In the coming weeks, UNICEF will also assess existing transport capacity to identify gaps and future requirements, the agency said.

“The procurement, delivery, and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is anticipated to be the largest and fastest such operation ever undertaken,” it added.

UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and deliver vaccines from manufacturers that have agreements with the COVAX Facility. In collaboration with PAHO, UNICEF will coordinate the purchase and delivery for 92 low- and lower middle-income economies as quickly and securely as possible.

The initiative builds on UNICEF’s long standing efforts with the logistics industry to transport supplies around the world despite restrictions related to the pandemic.

Since January, it has delivered over US$190 million worth of Covid-19 supplies such as masks, gowns, oxygen concentrators, and diagnostic test kits to support countries as they respond to the pandemic.

As the largest single purchaser of vaccines in the world, UNICEF normally procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries.

This unparalleled expertise includes the coordination of thousands of shipments with various cold chain requirements, making the UN agency an expert in supply chain management of temperature-controlled products, which is especially needed during this historic undertaking. (Xinhua)

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