UNICEF delivers 1,344 vaccine carriers for regular immunization programme to the Ministry of Health with the support of the United Kingdom and Luxembourg Government
Prishtina, 19 January 2021 – Today, UNICEF in partnership with the British Embassy in Kosovo and the Luxembourg Government donated 1,344 vaccine carriers for regular immunization which will contribute to strengthening the vaccination programme in Kosovo. The vaccine carries are part of UNICEF’s support to strengthen the cold chain infrastructure in Kosovo. Thanks to the carriers, mobile teams of health workers will be able to provide targeted immunization services for communities and children who are the hardest to reach, such as children from rural areas, children from non-majority communities, and those children living with disabilities or further away from health centers these carriers will also be used by front doctors and nurses as part of COVID-19 vaccine deployment in Kosovo.
These carriers will also be used by front line health workers as part of covid19 vaccine deployment in Kosovo, where around 4500 people are planned to be vaccinated during the first phase and 360,000 people during the second phase. Kosovo Institute of Public Health and 191 health institutions at regional and local level will receive the vaccine carriers.
What are vaccine carriers?
Vaccine carriers are used for the purpose of transporting vaccines to where vaccines will be administered. Vaccine carriers are insulated boxes used for transporting limited number of vaccine vials and diluents from nearest storage to the vaccination site, for storing vials at the session site, and to return unused, partially used and completely used vials back to cold chain point on the same day. They are packed with four conditioned ice packs and can maintain storage temperature of -2OC to -8OC for 41 hours and 29 minutes.
The impact of the pandemic and containment measures on acute care services, including immunization services has been substantial due to a diversion of resources and imposition of containment measures. This disruption of basic services has been particularly hard for people from vulnerable communities, with immunization coverage for some communities already low pre-COVID (for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian children as low as 38 per cent for children’s routine vaccinations).
This interruption in the immunization programme could increase the vulnerability to larger outbreaks of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, which will need to be countered specifically.
For instance, for two months the routine immunization programme was completely stopped. The programme currently covers more than 210,747 children in the age group 0-12 for their critical routine immunization schedule. Similarly, the suspension of the home visiting programme left more than 48,418 children aged 0-3 without the support of the programme that provides health, nutrition, and responsive parental support by home-visiting nurses.
Murat Sahin, Head of UNICEF Kosovo office highlighted that “together with national and international partners, we will continue to support institutions, strengthen cold chain system, immunization infrastructure, and vaccination outreach in Kosovo”.
With the support of the British Embassy in Kosovo 1,206 vaccine carriers were donated whereas the Government of Luxembourg donated 138 carriers which will further strengthen regular immunization programme in Kosovo, ”The British Embassy is pleased to support the strengthening of immunisation programme in Kosovo, which was disrupted during COVID 19, for communities and children who are the hardest to reach. Maximizing protection for population from preventable diseases is vital at this difficult time. As part of our 2 million Euro programme of work with the UN to strengthen resilience in health and education in the wake of Covid-19,” said British Deputy Ambassador, Jacob Webber.
UNICEF with the support of the Luxembourg Government and partners will continue working with health professionals in their efforts to reimagine immunization and build back better by:
- Supporting health system so Kosovo can continue safely deliver routine immunization services during the COVID-19 pandemic, by adhering to hygiene and physical distancing recommendations and providing protective equipment to health workers;
- Through home visiting communicate actively with caregivers to explain how full immunization of child should not be disrupted due to the pandemic;
- Expanding services to reach missed communities, where some of the most vulnerable children live.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org./kosovoprogramme
For more information on the cold chain https://www.unicef.org/supply/what-cold-chain
For more details you can contact Dafina Zuna, Partnerships and Communications Officer at UNICEF in Kosovo at + 383 44 185 123 or email@example.com