UNITED NATIONS, SEPTEMBER 8: In what could possibly be the world’s largest and fastest ever operation of its kind, UNICEF has announced that it will be leading the procurement and supply of Coronavirus vaccines to ensure that all countries have safe, fast and equitable access to initial doses when they are available.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the world’s largest single vaccine buyer, procuring more than 2 billion doses of various vaccines annually for routine immunisation and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries.
With several vaccine candidates showing promise, the UN agency, in collaboration with the Revolving Fund of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), will lead efforts to procure and supply doses of COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility for 92 low and lower middle-income countries, whose vaccine purchases will be supported by the mechanism.
UNICEF will also serve as procurement coordinator to support purchases by 80 higher-income economies, which have expressed their intent to participate in the COVAX Facility and would finance the vaccines from their own budgets, it said.
The vaccine procurement and distribution effort, involving over 170 economies, has the potential to become the world’s largest and fastest ever operation of its kind.
“This is an all-hands on deck partnership between Governments, manufacturers and multilateral partners to continue the high-stakes fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said.
“In our collective pursuit of a vaccine, UNICEF is leveraging its unique strengths in vaccine supply to make sure that all countries have safe, fast and equitable access to the initial doses when they are available,” she said.
UNICEF will undertake these efforts in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), PAHO, the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other partners. The COVAX Facility is open to all countries to ensure that no country is left without access to a future COVID-19 vaccine. (PTI)