Japan donates over US$11 million to UNICEF to keep COVID-19 vaccines cool in Latin America and the Caribbean
PANAMA CITY, 12 August 2021 - In the world’s region hardest hit by the pandemic, the Government of Japan contributes US$11.11 million to UNICEF’s ongoing efforts to keep COVID-19 vaccines at the right temperature and support effective and inclusive vaccination across several Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Japan’s financial donation will help strengthen cold chain systems and build the capacity of technical staff and health workers for vaccine management in Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela.
“Our job doesn’t stop with vaccines reaching each country. It is the first step of many. Vaccines need to be kept cool from the production site to the moment they are being used. Japan’s contribution will make a valuable difference in saving lives in six countries in the region, bringing us one step closer to curbing the pandemic,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“In the last months, children have been tremendously impacted in terms of their social, educational and emotional development. This high-quality and timely cold chain support will allow health workers to deliver life-saving COVID-19 vaccines to those even in the most remote areas of the region,” she concluded.
As more and more vaccines are currently being donated to Latin America and the Caribbean, it’s critical to make the best use of every single dose.
Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, COVID-19 has heavily affected Latin America and the Caribbean and continues to do so in 2021. The region, which is home to only 8 per cent of the total global population, has reported over 40 million cases and close to 1.4 million deaths, respectively over 20 per cent and 30 per cent of the total global burden by the end of July.
Accelerating an inclusive and efficient roll out of COVID-19 vaccines is at the forefront of UNICEF´s priorities globally and in Latin America and the Caribbean with a long-term vision to strengthen overall healthcare systems.
Across the Latin American and Caribbean region, UNICEF is supporting countries to prepare their immunization programmes for this historic vaccine rollout through advocacy, procurement of cold chain and logistic equipment, training of health workers and technical assistance. By the end of July 2021, about 270 million doses have been administered in the region, including doses obtained through bilateral agreements, donations and those delivered through the COVAX mechanism.
In total, 30 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean have received at least a first batch of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX mechanism, totaling more than 30 million doses, with UNICEF support in coordination with PAHO, GAVI and CEPI. Only 13 per cent of the population in the region is fully vaccinated.
UNICEF also continues to promote community engagement and extensive social mobilization networks to strengthen demand, increase vaccine acceptancy and combat misinformation. UNICEF is also a strong advocate for equitable access to vaccinations for refugees, migrants, and indigenous populations, and for gender equity in vaccination.
UNICEF thanks the Government of Japan for its donation to UNICEF’s 2021 Humanitarian Action for Children Appeal for “Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A)” which requests US$659 million to enable UNICEF and partners to support global efforts to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
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 https://www.unicef.org/lac/en.