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A lab technician holds a vile of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate during testing. (Photo: AP)
A lab technician holds a vile of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate during testing. (Photo: AP)

UNICEF working with partners logistics, procurement of covid vaccine doses

  • UNICEF is the largest vaccine buyer in the world, procuring more than 2 billion doses annually for routine immunisation and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. It is the main procurement partner of Gavi

NEW DELHI: The UNICEF, or the United Nations Children's Fund, is working with manufacturers and partners on logistics and procurement of covid-19 vaccine doses on behalf Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX Facility) led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

With several vaccine candidates showing promise, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Revolving Fund, will lead efforts to procure and supply doses of covid-19 vaccines for 92 low- and lower middle-income countries whose vaccine purchases will be supported by the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment as well as a buffer stockpile for humanitarian emergencies.

UNICEF will also serve as a coordinator to support procurement by 80 higher-income economies, which have expressed their intent to participate in the COVAX Facility and would fund the vaccines from their public finance budgets.

These efforts will be in collaboration with WHO, Gavi, CEPI, PAHO, the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other partners. The COVAX Facility is open to all countries.

"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," said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director.

UNICEF is the largest vaccine buyer in the world, procuring more than 2 billion doses annually for routine immunisation and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. It is the main procurement partner of Gavi.

The Fund will use its market shaping and procurement expertise to coordinate the procurement and supply of covid-19 vaccines for the COVAX Facility. This could potentially double the agency’s vaccine procurement volume in 2021.

A key next step will be ensuring self-financing economies sign up for the COVAX Facility by 18 September, which will allow it to support early, at-risk investments in increasing manufacturing capacity on a broad scale through advance purchase agreements.

Currently under development by World Health Organization (WHO), the COVAX allocation framework will guide how and where UNICEF, PAHO and other procurers working on behalf of participating countries supply covid-19 vaccines that are secured by the Facility.

Initial dose allocations are expected to be scaled to enable countries to vaccinate health and social workers, followed by subsequent tranches of vaccine doses that would enable participating countries to vaccinate populations at higher risk of the disease.

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