Ecuador receives first of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX Mechanism
Quito, Ecuador, March 17, 2021 (OPS/OMS). Ecuador received today 84,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Mechanism, a global effort between the Coalition for the Promotion of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
This arrival marks a historic step towards the goal of ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.
This is a historic step towards our goal of ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. The delivery is part of a first phase of doses to be received by Ecuador and more vaccines are planned to arrive successively during 2021.
An additional 165,000 doses are expected to arrive in early April and subsequent shipments to complete 756,000 doses by next May, according to the first COVAX allocation round, whereby all participating countries will receive doses to vaccinate approximately 2% of their population. The second round is expected to complete around 7 million doses for Ecuador, to be delivered by end of year, with the objective of covering 20% of the Ecuadorian population, according to prioritization recommended by WHO..
PAHO's Revolving Fund, in charge of acquiring COVID-19 vaccines for countries of the Americas under the COVAX Mechanism, sent the first 84,000 doses of the vaccine from AstraZeneca/Oxford laboratory, authorized for use by WHO and manufactured by SK Bioscience of South Korea. The vaccines arrived on March 17 at Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito.
“This international solidarity effort makes real the aspiration of achieving equitable access to vaccines and reducing the tragic toll that the pandemic could leave behind,” said Adrian Diaz, PAHO’s Acting Representative in Ecuador. “It is moving to feel part of an unprecedented event in the history of public health, characterized by a coordinated response between the scientific community, cooperating agencies, governments and civil society, allowing us to respond to this pandemic as never before,” he added.
The arrival of these first vaccines will serve to protect priority and high-risk groups, such as health workers and the elderly. Ecuador is one of the priority countries in the Americas receiving vaccines from the COVAX Mechanism.
“Thanks to vaccination we can recover hope and allow children to continue their integral development in better conditions. It is crucial that these vaccines are distributed equitably in the country and most vulnerable groups are prioritized. Only when most vulnerable people are vaccinated, we will be safe,” said Joaquín González-Alemán, Representative of UNICEF Ecuador.
While the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ecuador, Lena Savelli, expressed:
“We are proud that Ecuador will receive this first batch of vaccines through the COVAX mechanism. Global and equitable access to the vaccine to those most at risk of contracting the disease, such as health workers, educators, service personnel and others; and to those in vulnerable situations, such as refugees and migrants, or people with disabilities, is the only way to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, and will allow us to recover better, leaving no one behind”.
Until vaccination is widespread among the population, basic public health measures remain the foundation of pandemic response. For health authorities, this means continued screening, contact tracing, isolation, assisted quarantine and quality care. And for individuals, it means continuing to practice physical distancing, hand hygiene, use of masks, space ventilation, and crowd avoidance.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.