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 G7 nations to #DonateDosesNow
The world has a lot of COVID-19 vaccines, but currently less than 1 per cent of global supply is reaching people in low-income countries. While some countries are well on their way to vaccinating their entire adult population, other countries are struggling to access the vaccines they need to cover healthcare workers and vulnerable populations, leading to deadly surges in COVID-19 cases.
Vaccines represent a crucial ‘insurance policy’ for low income countries against becoming the next virus hotspot. But the COVAX Facility, a global partnership designed to achieve vaccine equity, has 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 longer the virus continues to spread unchecked, the higher the risk of more deadly or contagious variants emerging – placing everyone at risk.
Dose donations are an immediate, short term, and urgent solution to improving equitable and fair access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines in 2021. Right now, it is possible for well-supplied countries to donate doses without having a significant impact on their own commitments to vaccinate their own adult population. By donating just 20 per cent of their available supply over June, July and August they can ensure vaccines are made available to those who most need them now.
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.
Countries with higher coverage rates, which are due to receive additional doses soon, should swap their places in supply queues with COVAX. This is the best way to help ensure vaccines are made available to all countries equally and to help vaccinate health workers and vulnerable populations in low-income countries. COVAX’s need for doses is greatest right now, while it waits for direct procurements to gather momentum and for production to increase.
Ensuring equitable access
Dose donations are an essential part of ensuring fair access to vaccines. But getting donated vaccine doses to the countries that need them is only part of the journey. Equitable access 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 later in the year. However, immediate time-bound donations are needed to address the acute shortage this summer and prevent further deadly surges of COVID-19 around the world.
- Donate doses now: G7 Governments and other well-supplied countries should collectively donate 20 per cent of available doses in June, July and August to address the urgent shortage.
- Commit to release future doses: Governments that have contracted for more ‘future doses’ than required to vaccinate their adult populations this year should immediately commit to a roadmap to scale donations across 2021, to reach at least 1 billion by end of the year.
- Refrain from contract restrictions that prevent equitable access: This includes not adding, as well as dropping, existing clauses that would prevent use of vaccines outside of a contracting country’s borders.
- Identify and plan dose availability: Governments must work with both manufacturers and COVAX to identify and plan for dose donation to enhance predictability, equitable access, and help stabilize the global vaccine market.
- No additional costs: Dose donation should not place any additional costs on countries receiving the vaccines and all reallocations should adhere to the COVAX Principles for Sharing COVID-19 Vaccine Doses.
- 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.