Seasonal flu vaccines: 120.500 thousand doses arrived in Kosovo
Seasonal 2020 flu vaccines arrive, while Kosovo joins global COVID-19 vaccine preparedness efforts
Prishtina, 30 November 2020: The global demand for seasonal influenza vaccines has increased during 2020 as authorities around the world try to ease the burden on the health systems with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF has been able to secure 165,000 doses of influenza vaccine, 60 per cent more than previous years procurement for Kosovo in 2020. Today, 120.500 doses have been delivered and remaining shipments of 40.000 are on its way.
Minister of Health, Mr. Armend Zemaj, recognized efforts of UNICEF in securing quality vaccines for citizens of Kosovo and highlighted that Ministry of Health will buy additional 50,000 dozes to ensure that more people are protected, especially now during this time when the whole world is fighting COVID -19.
As the largest single vaccine buyer in the world, UNICEF procures more than two billion doses of vaccines globally for routine immunizations and outbreak responses on behalf of nearly 100 countries. UNICEF provides high quality and cheaper vaccines for many countries from manufacturers pre-qualified by the World Health Organization.
UNICEF is also currently leading the efforts to procure and supply COVID-19 vaccines in what could possibly be the world’s largest and fastest ever procurement and supply of vaccines, as part of the global vaccine plan of the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access facility (COVAX Facility) led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The initial two billion doses are intended to protect frontline health care and social workers, as well as high risk and vulnerable people, some 20 per cent of the world’s population. In vaccinating the 107 million health workers globally, we ensure that health care workers can get back to work and ensure that babies and children get the critical health care and immunization they need. UNICEF plans to coordinate the purchase and delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine for 92 low- and lower middle-income economies, as quickly and securely as possible once a vaccine becomes available and is approved.
Kosovo is eligible to receive official development assistance (ODA) support through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) to receive some COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility. Ministry of Health established a working group responsible to prepare the application for COVID-19 vaccine, composed by key institutional stakeholders and UN agencies including UNICEF, WHO and WB. In addition, UNICEF is supporting MoH to strengthen vaccine cold chain system for routine immunization programme and preparedness for COVID-19 vaccine.
UNICEF’s Office is currently supporting the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Public Health – NIPH in assessing the vaccine storage and distribution system in Kosovo. The assessment will guide improvement needs and help storage of distribution of vaccines for coming years, especially during a time of increased demand on the system.
Immunization protects families and communities from various infectious diseases. In Kosovo, based on the 2020 MICS findings https://www.unicef.org/kosovoprogramme/reports/data-policies-kosovo-multiple-indicator-cluster-survey only 73 per cent of children are fully immunized according to the Kosovo immunization schedule, and among Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, the immunization coverage is only 38 per cent. “Maintaining and increasing regular child vaccination as per the childhood Immunization calendar is of great importance, especially now.” says UNICEF head of office Murat Sahin.
UNICEF and MoH will continue supporting Kosovo Institutions to secure the vaccines for the regular immunization calendar, the influenza vaccine and systematically work with, NIPH and other partners on preparedness plan for the potential COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, UNICEF will continue supporting the Institute of Public Health and Local Health management to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on disruption of essential health and increase access to immunization programmes for the most vulnerable children. Since beginning of November 2020, UNICEF with health authorities and NGO partners at municipal level, has launched a door to door campaign to deliver catch-up immunization services in targeted communities to reach children and families for any immunizations that they may have missed during the lockdown earlier in the yea
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.