UNICEF working with global airlines and freight providers to plan delivery of COVID-19 vaccines

UNICEF kickstarts discussions with over 350 logistics organizations to step up delivery plans for eventual COVID-19 vaccines

26 November 2020
Nurse preparing the shot for vaccination
UNICEF/UN0358759/Fazel

NEW YORK, 26 November 2020: UNICEF is working with major global airlines and freight providers to step up efforts to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to over 92 countries around the world as soon as vaccines become available.

To kickstart preparations, UNICEF together 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 vaccines in 2021. This is in addition to the 1 billion syringes that need to be transported by sea-freight. 

“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,” said Etleva Kadilli, Director of UNICEF’s Supply Division. “This 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 front line workers around the globe.”

In the coming weeks, UNICEF is also assessing existing transport capacity to identify gaps and future requirements. The procurement, delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is anticipated to be the largest and fastest such operation ever undertaken. UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and deliver vaccines from manufacturers that have agreements with the COVAX Facility.

As the largest single vaccine buyer 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 UNICEF an expert in supply chain management of temperature-controlled products, which is especially needed during this historic undertaking.

Last month, UNICEF began a process to stockpile more than 1 billion syringes by 2021 to guarantee initial supply and pre-position in advance of COVID-19 vaccines.

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Media contacts:

Sabrina Sidhu, UNICEF New York, +1 917 4761537, ssidhu@unicef.org

Media contacts

Zara Sargsyan
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UNICEF Armenia
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