The countries that will receive the syringes as part of the first wave of deliveries are part of the first preliminary distribution forecast by COVAX and have asked UNICEF for assistance with the procurement of the syringes.
The 0.5ml syringes and safety boxes are due to arrive in Malé, Maldives, on Tuesday. In the next few weeks UNICEF will deliver more than 14.5 million 0.5ml and 0.3ml syringes to 30 countries worldwide.
The 0.5ml syringes are for the AstraZeneca vaccine, the 0.3ml syringes for the Pfizer / Biontech vaccine.
“In the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, syringes are just as important as the vaccine itself,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “It is important that enough syringes are available in each country before the vaccine arrives so that the vaccine can be given safely. It is the prerequisite for the vaccinations to start immediately and for us to be able to turn the tide in the fight against the terrible virus. ”
The 0.5ml syringes are sent from the UNICEF warehouse in Dubai and the 0.3ml syringes and 2ml syringes are sent directly from a manufacturer in Spain. In addition to syringes, UNICEF also sends safety boxes for safe disposal of the syringes.
The syringes contain an automatic deactivation and can therefore only be used once. This prevents the risk of bloodborne diseases through injections.
In total, UNICEF will deliver up to a billion syringes and 10 million safety boxes to countries this year. UNICEF had already deposited around half a billion syringes in its warehouses in Copenhagen and Dubai in preparation for the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to 82 countries with low and middle income.
UNICEF has worked with airlines, logistics companies and freight forwarders to ensure that the syringes are prioritized as cargo, regardless of whether they are shipped to the destination country directly from a manufacturer or from UNICEF warehouses. Although the first shipments will be shipped by air, most syringes and safety boxes will be shipped by sea due to the size of the cargo.
Two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021
UNICEF plans to deliver two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, UNICEF was the world’s largest buyer of vaccines. Every year UNICEF procures more than two billion vaccines against dangerous infectious diseases and provides around 600 to 800 million syringes for routine vaccinations.
COVAX is a global initiative led by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). With its technical expertise and a global logistics network, UNICEF is responsible for global procurement and logistics and supports the countries in preparing for vaccinations on site.