Nearly 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be shipped and delivered to developing countries next year as part of a “gigantic operation,” UNICEF, the United Nations agency for the disease, said on Monday. childhood, as world leaders pledge to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines.UNICEF said it was working with more than 350 airlines and freight companies to deliver vaccines and 1 billion syringes to poor countries such as Burundi, Afghanistan and Yemen under COVAX, a plan global COVID-19 vaccine allocation with the World Health Organization (WHO). .
“This invaluable collaboration will go a long way in ensuring that sufficient transport capacity is in place for this historic and massive operation,” Etleva Kadilli, director of the UNICEF Supply Division, said in a statement.
COVAX – co-led by the GAVI immunization group, WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations – aims to discourage governments from stockpiling COVID-19 vaccines and focus first on vaccinating those most at risk in each country .
At a G20 summit this weekend, leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies pledged to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests so that the poorest countries are not left out.
Even before the pandemic hit, access to vaccines was uneven, with around 20 million babies not receiving vaccines that could save them from serious illness, death, disability and health problems, according to the WHO .
“We need everyone on deck as we prepare to deliver COVID-19 vaccine doses, syringes and more personal protective equipment to protect frontline workers around the world,” said said Kadilli of UNICEF, who works with the Pan American Health Organization and the International Air Transport Association.
UNICEF’s role with COVAX stems from its status as the world’s largest purchaser of vaccines.
He said he procured more than 2 billion doses of vaccine each year for routine immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries.
Drugmakers and research centers around the world are rushing to develop COVID-19 vaccines, with large global trials of several of the candidates involving tens of thousands of participants well underway.
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech could get emergency clearance in the United States and Europe for their COVID-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed 95% success rate and no serious side effects .
Moderna Inc released preliminary data for its vaccine last week showing 94.5% efficacy.
The better-than-expected results of the two vaccines, both developed with new messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, have raised hopes of ending a pandemic that has killed more than 1.3 million people and caused disasters. devastation in economies and daily life.