04/26/2021
Celebrating the past, present and future benefits of vaccines
https://www.unicef.org/eca/press-releases/celebrating-past-present-and-future-benefits-vaccines
 - This past, difficult year of the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear how vulnerable we all are to a deadly new disease, when we don’t have the right vaccines or medical technologies we normally use to fight back. Long before COVID-19, one crucial tool – simply called “routine immunization” – was already saving millions of lives and preventing debilitating sickness, particularly among children. Routine immunization protects not only the person vaccinated, but also others in their communities. It helps pave the way to universal health coverage and Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals – ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages. The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination at an ever-increasing speed across the WHO European Region, just a year after the start of the pandemic, is an impressive achievement. The European Union, WHO, UNICEF, all national governments and other partners have worked side by side in this response. Thanks to the global COVAX allocation mechanism and Team Europe’s effort some countries in the region that could not have competed on the global vaccine market on their own, are seeing vaccines being rolled-out. The European Union, WHO and UNICEF are now working with private and public sectors to overcome supply and capacity challenges and enable faster delivery. The uneven roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination to date highlights another truth: Inequitable access to health technologies between and within countries hurts us all. The virus and its impact on interlinked economies and societies know no borders. No country is safe until all countries are safe. While COVID-19 vaccination must continue at a faster and more equitable pace, it must not come at the cost of neglecting routine immunization. Any dip in routine coverage caused by the pandemic in 2020 or 2021 will pave the way for future outbreaks and jeopardize decades of progress.   In 2019, the European Region continued its record-breaking trend in routine vaccination coverage rates against measles and other vaccine preventable diseases. While 2020 saw an exceptionally low rate of reported measles cases, the pandemic has challenged national immunization programmes to keep up and catch up on routine shots. We must keep measles and other preventable diseases at bay by maintaining high routine vaccination coverage rates in every community, even during the pandemic. This year, more than ever, we call on everyone to do their part by choosing health information sources carefully, getting all routine vaccinations in due time and accepting COVID-19 vaccination for yourself and your loved ones when your turn comes. Talk to your children and others about vaccination, so they also come to see that it is not just an injection, but an investment in a healthier future and a safer world. A girl is getting her routine vaccination in Armenia. UNICEF Armenia/2021/Margaryan
11/04/2021
Ukraine to receive $2.8 million worth of cold chain equipment to support COVID vaccination
https://www.unicef.org/eca/press-releases/ukraine-receive-28-million-worth-cold-chain-equipment-support-covid-vaccination
 - The Ministry of Health of Ukraine in partnership with UNICEF, and with financial support from the US Government through USAID, starts an unprecedented upgrade to the cold chain for vaccines at the national level, in the context of COVID pandemic. To meet immediate needs, a total of $2.8 million provided by USAID will be used by UNICEF to procure WHO-prequalified passive cooling equipment to ensure safe and efficient transport and temporary storage of vaccines for primary health care facilities and mobile teams.  The USAID donation will provide equipment to some 3,100 vaccination sites nationwide, including 1,034 sites based at primary healthcare facilities and nearly 800 mobile teams.  The equipment will include: 5,643 cold boxes,  8,100 vaccine carriers, 197,730 ice-packs, 27,486 temperature monitoring devices  The first batch of equipment arrived on September 30, and includes 2,700 vaccine carriers that can keep COVID-19 vaccines between +2 to +8°C. This equipment can also be used in the future for routine vaccines included in the national immunization  schedule. “Every adult person in Ukraine has a chance to get a vaccination against COVID-19 today.  We have enough vaccines to immunize 70 percent of the population by the end of the year.  The Ministry is expecting to  receive more COVID-19 vaccines  in October-November. We are grateful to  partners helping us ensure safe transport and temporary storage of the larger amount of vaccines we are receiving,”  said Ihor Kuzin,  Deputy Minister of Health, Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine. “The U.S. Government, as the largest donor to COVAX, is proud to partner with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, and the international community in this historic effort to rapidly scale up COVID-19 vaccines. This investment in Ukraine's cold chain system will help ensure that vaccination sites across the country can transport and store vaccines at the proper temperature. This will increase Ukrainians' access to safe, high-quality COVID 19 vaccines - and will strengthen the national immunization system,"
09/26/2021
Teachers from the Guria region are getting COVID-19 vaccination as part of a joint campaign by UNICEF and the Government
https://www.unicef.org/eca/press-releases/teachers-guria-region-are-getting-covid-19-vaccination-part-joint-campaign-unicef
 UNICEF continues to engage educators and school administrators in the COVID-19 vaccination programme. More than 200 teachers from Guria region learned about the benefits and the importance of COVID-19 vaccination through information sessions organized by UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. The sessions were led by prominent doctors and public health experts and were attended by the educators from Ozurgeti, Lanchkhuti and Chokhatauri municipalities. As frontline workers, it is important that teachers have access to vaccinations for safe school reopening. The sessions were led by a new group of prominent medical experts, including: Maia Gotua Prof. MD. Ph.D. General Director of the Center of Allergy and Immunology, Vice President of Georgian Association of Allergology and Clinical Immunology; Mamuka Bokuchava Prof. MD. Ph.D. Vascular Surgeon, Deputy  Director  Of  Bokhua  Memorial  Cardiovascular  Center; Nino Kiknadze Associate Prof. MD. Ph.D. Director Of Clinical Services at Raymann Clinic; Levan Vashakidze MD. Anesthesiologist, Head of Anesthesia departments of Bokhua Memorial Cardiovascular Center and the New Hospital. UNICEF Deputy Representative Amy Clancy addressed the teachers focusing on the importance of safe reopening of schools. During the sessions the doctors and healthcare professionals covered a variety of topics including: COVID-19 immunization trends in Georgia and current situation regarding the virus; the importance of immunization and COVID-19 complications, including among children; vaccination of people with chronic diseases and allergy conditions. The teachers were invited to get vaccinated on the spot, following the informational sessions. Most teachers participating in the event got their vaccines. Since May 2021, UNICEF has organized 19 similar meetings in different regions of Georgia for local community leaders, including teachers, doctors, religious leaders and tourism sector representatives, to engage them in the national vaccination programme. More than 1000 teachers got vaccinated following the sessions, on the same day. The teachers have since spread information about the benefits of vaccination in their communities, resulting in higher rates of vaccination.  As a result of joint interventions, as of 31 August 2021, the number of teachers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 increased from 9% to 46%. UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science and with support from NCDC, plans to organize 42 meetings for more than 3000 teachers to be vaccinated by the end of the year. Schools are central to children’s development, safety, and well-being. The risks to children, while they are out of school, are greater than the risks to them while in school, for three key reasons: The impact of school closures on students’ learning, health, and well-being at critical developmental stages have profound repercussions on children, their families, and their economy. Many of these children will never catch up. With risk mitigation measures in place, schools are safe environments for children. The latest evidence shows that schools do not drive the spread of COVID-19 in the community and that COVID-19 does not pose a high risk to children. School closures have the greatest negative impact on the most vulnerable children, those who are far less likely to have access to remote learning and more likely to be exposed to violence, abuse, neglect, child labor, and other risks. Closing schools must be a temporary measure of last resort in pandemic response; and schools must be the first to open and the last to close. Assessing the risk of transmission at the local level should be a key determinant in decisions on school operations. Teacher is getting her COVID-19 vaccination after the session held by UNICEF and the Government. UNICEF/GEO-2021/Kvachadze
10/30/2021
UNICEF engages medical students in a country-wide campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccination
https://www.unicef.org/eca/press-releases/unicef-engages-medical-students-country-wide-campaign-promote-covid-19-vaccination
 Students specializing in the field of medicine from three different universities in Georgia will engage in a 6-month campaign, organized by UNICEF and the Association of Immunization and Vaccinology (AIVA) with support from USAID, to share information on and to promote the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Memorandums will be signed with the Tbilisi State University, the Tbilisi State Medical University, the Batumi State University and the International University Batumi to engage students in disseminating information about COVID-19 vaccines. The campaign, with the slogan “ You can end this pandemic!”,  will target young people in selected regions and share evidence-based information on COVID-19, its possible complications and prevention measures, and will focus on why vaccination against COVID-19 is important. With a network of medical students, a medical students league will be established. The league members or “med-iators” will first undergo a full day training to improve their understanding about the existing vaccination process and the available vaccines. Among the trainers are: Maia Gotua, Prof. M.D. Ph.D. General Director of the Center of Allergy and Immunology, Vice President of Georgian Association of Allergology and Clinical Immunology; Archil Marshania M.D. Anesthesiologist and Tamar Ratishvili M.D. member of the vaccine research group at Mayo Clinic. After the initial training, the student league will be regularly updated on the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and statistics, which the league will use for further communication with the communities. The students will go on field trips to hard-to-reach villages of mountainous Adjara, as well as ethnic minority communities in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions. During the visits, the students will set up a visually prominent stand in the center of the village, where local population, especially young people, will receive latest and reliable information about COVID-19 vaccination. The students will also assist the local population in registering for vaccination and will distribute additional information, such as brochures and fliers in Armenian and Azerbaijani languages, targeting ethnic minorities. UNICEF has been actively supporting the Government in raising awareness about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination in Georgia. Since May 2021, UNICEF has organized more than 50 informational meetings on COVID-19 vaccination across Georgia with local community leaders, teachers, nurses, doctors, religious leaders and tourism sector representatives to engage them in the national vaccination programme. UNICEF engages medical students in a country-wide campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccination UNICEF/GEO-2021/Valishvili