Donate doses now
COVID-19 vaccines can help end the pandemic. But it’s essential that everyone has access to them.
Vaccines allow us to come together, shoulder to shoulder – in schools, communities and places of worship. They are the best hope we have of ending the COVID-19 pandemic and getting back to doing the things we enjoy, with the people we love.
Show your support for fair and equal access to vaccines and ask leaders of the world’s richest nations to #DonateDosesNow
More than 5 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. Yet, only around 2 per cent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, compared with more than 80 per cent in high- and upper-middle-income countries. While we need even more vaccines to meet demand, there are enough doses available among well-supplied countries to reach the world’s most vulnerable people right now.
At the G7 summit in June, well-supplied countries pledged to donate 1 billion vaccines. Most of these pledges haven’t been fulfilled. This inequity is unjust and puts us all at risk. The longer the virus continues to spread unchecked, the higher the risk of more deadly or contagious variants emerging.
The COVAX Facility, a global partnership designed to achieve vaccine equity, faced extreme supply constraints in the first half of 2021. Unless COVAX can quickly secure more doses, unequal access to COVID-19 vaccines will undermine any attempt at a fast, fair and future proof recovery. The path out of this pandemic is clear, but we can only get out together.
Dose donations are an immediate, short term, and urgent solution to improving equitable and fair access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines. Right now, it is urgent that well-supplied countries donate as many doses as quickly as possible. Countries that have already pledged doses must turn these into reality now.
Meanwhile, countries with higher coverage rates, which are due to receive additional doses soon, should swap their places in supply queues with COVAX. These are the best ways to ensure vaccines are made available to all countries equally and to help vaccinate health workers and vulnerable populations in low-income countries.
In early June, UNICEF Ambassadors and supporters signed an open letter to G7 leaders calling on them to make these urgent donations by August and to set out a roadmap to scale up donations as supplies increase.
Ensuring equitable access
Dose donations are an essential part of ensuring fair access to vaccines. But while getting donated vaccine doses to the countries that need them is the most urgent step, it is only one step in a longer journey.
Equitable access also means supporting countries’ capacity to get vaccines into arms. Without adequate funding and support for in-country delivery costs – including the human resources, equipment, supplies and processes needed to get vaccines from entry ports to being safely administered – countries already facing spiraling health and social sector costs will struggle to find the resources need to reach priority populations. It is therefore essential that low-income countries are given additional support where needed to cover new activities associated with COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, without having to make cuts for other life-saving health programmes such as routine childhood vaccinations.
UNICEF’s call to action:
Currently, many countries support dose donation in principle and have signalled intent to donate doses. However, we can’t wait any longer. Immediate time-bound donations are urgently needed to address the global vaccine inequities and to prevent further deadly surges of COVID-19 around the world.
High income countries with adequate supplies of COVID-19 vaccines must:
- Turn their pledges for dose donations into reality – NOW.
- Increase their pledges for dose donations.
- Accelerate the pace of dose donations.
- Transfer over to COVAX their ‘place in line’ and contract options for supplies from manufacturers.
One act of support does not negate the other: Dose donations should be made additionally to fully funding the COVAX facility and ACT A and additional to other official development assistance commitments.
In addition, UNICEF calls on donors to:
Provide dedicated and additional immediate financing for country readiness and in-country delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and tools so that life-saving prevention and treatments are equitably available. UNICEF’s ACT-A Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal needs $659 million to support the delivery of COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and bundle vaccines in low- and middle-income countries to ensure all high-risk groups and vulnerable communities and populations are reached this year.