Japan Donates COVID-19 Vaccines to Lao PDR Through the COVAX Facility

The Government of Japan has provided 616,820 doses of the Astra Zeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine to Lao PDR via the COVAX Facility to strengthen Lao PDR’s vaccination rollout.

05 August 2021
COVAX
UNICEF Laos/2021/SSiriphongphanh

Vientiane, 5 August 2021 - Today, Lao PDR received a donation of COVID-19 vaccines from the Government of Japan through the COVAX Facility – a partnership co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO), with UNICEF as key delivery partner.

The donation consists of 616,820 doses of the Astra Zeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine manufactured in Japan and will contribute towards vaccinating more than 300,000 Lao people by the end of 2021.

These vaccines were handed over to the Government of Lao PDR by H.E. Mr. Keizo Takewaka, Ambassador of Japan to the Lao PDR, in an official ceremony held at the Wattay International Airport, which was chaired by H.E. Ms. Pany Yathotou, Vice President of the Lao PDR. In attendance at the handover ceremony were also Dr. Jun Gao, WHO Officer-in-Charge to Lao PDR and Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR, alongside other partners.

“The Government of Lao PDR highly values the donation of the Astra Zeneca/Oxford vaccines which reflect the efforts of the Government and People of Japan to help the Lao Government and People to prevent and contain the COVID-19 outbreak in our country. This latest batch of vaccines will help drive Lao PDR’s vaccination efforts forward and bring us closer towards our goal of vaccinating 50 per cent of the population by this year,” remarked H.E. Ms. Pany Yathotou, Vice President of the Lao PDR.

The Lao PDR Government will use the latest donation of doses to continue vaccinating priority groups, including people above 60 years of age, people with underlying health conditions, and health workers across the country, in line with the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan and in support of the Government of Lao PDR’s goal of vaccinating 50 per cent of the population by the end of 2021.

“The Government of Japan has been a firm supporter of the Government of Lao PDR in its COVID-19 response since the initial outbreak of the virus, having previously also supported Lao PDR with personal protective equipment for frontline health workers and oxygen therapy equipment for treating COVID-19 patients, as well as strengthening the country’s overall cold chain capacity under the “Last One Mile Support” programme. It is my hope that this latest donation of vaccines will help Lao PDR achieve its vaccination target for 2021,” remarked H.E. Mr. Keizo Takewaka, Ambassador of Japan to the Lao PDR.

“The latest donation from the Government of Japan via the COVAX Facility reminds us of the power of global partnerships in ending the COVID-19 pandemic.  No country is safe until every country is safe and WHO is urging countries to continue to share vaccines equitably.  We applaud the Government of Japan's leadership in dose sharing to help fill an urgent supply gap and enable low- and lower-middle income countries to equitably access COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Jun Gao, WHO Officer-in-Charge to Lao PDR.                                                            

“With the arrival of every new shipment of vaccines, we move closer towards our goal of preventing further community transmission and putting this pandemic under control. We have already seen the effectiveness of vaccines in saving lives. Therefore, only by ramping up our efforts to rollout vaccines, not just only for COVID-19 but also for childhood immunization as well, can we hope to restore the lives of families and children from the damage caused by COVID-19,” stated Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR.

Vaccines are not a ‘silver bullet’ that will end the pandemic. For the foreseeable future, everyone must continue with proven preventative measures such as cleaning hands, wearing masks and physically distancing.

COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and CEPI, working in partnership with UNICEF as well as the World Bank, civil society organizations, manufacturers, and others. COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. 

Gavi board members represented in Lao PDR include Australia, Canada, the European Commission, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.


Notes to Editors

List of donor pledges to the Gavi COVAX AMC is available here.

Interactive funding tracker for the ACT Accelerator, which includes details of funding for COVAX, can be found here.

 

About COVAX

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.

CEPI is focused on the COVAX vaccine research and development portfolio: investing in R&D across a variety of promising candidates, with the goal to support development of three safe and effective vaccines which can be made available to countries participating in the COVAX Facility. As part of this work, CEPI has secured first right of refusal to potentially over one billion doses for the COVAX Facility to a number of candidates, and made strategic investments in vaccine manufacturing, which includes reserving capacity to manufacture doses of COVAX vaccines at a network of facilities, and securing glass vials to hold 2 billion doses of vaccine. CEPI is also investing in the ‘next generation’ of vaccine candidates, which will give the world additional options to control COVID-19 in the future.  

Gavi is focused on procurement and delivery for COVAX: coordinating the design, implementation and administration of the COVAX Facility and the Gavi COVAX AMC and working with its Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery. The COVAX Facility is the global pooled procurement mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines through which COVAX will ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for all 190 participating economies, using an allocation framework formulated by WHO. The COVAX Facility will do this by pooling buying power from participating economies and providing volume guarantees across a range of promising vaccine candidates. The Gavi COVAX AMC is the financing mechanism that will support the participation of 92 low- and middle-income countries in the Facility, enabling access to donor-funded doses of safe and effective vaccines. Gavi is fundraising for the COVAX AMC, and funding UNICEF procurement of vaccines as well as partners’ and governments work on readiness and delivery, including support cold chain equipment, technical assistance, syringes, vehicles, and other aspects of the vastly complex logistical operation for delivery. UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) will be acting as procurement coordinators for the COVAX Facility, helping deliver vaccines to COVAX AMC participants and others.

WHO has multiple roles within COVAX: It provides normative guidance on vaccine policy, regulation, safety, R&D, allocation, and country readiness and delivery. Its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization develops evidence-based immunization policy recommendations. Its Emergency Use Listing (EUL)/prequalification programmes ensure harmonized review and authorization across member states. It provides global coordination and member state support on vaccine safety monitoring. It developed the target product profiles for COVID-19 vaccines and provides R&D technical coordination.  WHO leads, along with UNICEF, the support to countries as they prepare to receive and administer vaccines. The Country Readiness and Delivery (CRD) workstream includes Gavi and numerous other partners working at the global, regional, and country-level to provide tools, guidance, monitoring, and on the ground technical assistance for the planning and roll-out of the vaccines.  Along with COVAX partners, WHO is also developing a no-fault compensation scheme as part of the time-limited indemnification and liability commitments.

UNICEF is leveraging its experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world and working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as freight, logistics and storage. UNICEF already procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. In collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply doses of COVID-19 vaccines for COVAX. In addition, UNICEF, Gavi and WHO are working with governments around the clock to ensure that countries are ready to receive the vaccines, with appropriate cold chain equipment in place and health workers trained to dispense them. UNICEF is also playing a lead role in efforts to foster trust in vaccines, delivering vaccine confidence communications and tracking and addressing misinformation around the world.

About CEPI

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics. CEPI has moved with great urgency and in coordination with WHO in response to the emergence of COVID-19. CEPI has initiated 11 partnerships to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus. The programmes are leveraging rapid response platforms already supported by CEPI as well as new partnerships.

Before the emergence of COVID-19, CEPI’s priority diseases included Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever and Chikungunya virus. CEPI also invested in platform technologies that can be used for rapid vaccine and immunoprophylactic development against unknown pathogens (Disease X).

About Gavi

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 822 million children – and prevented more than 14 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation and reaching the unvaccinated children still being left behind, employing innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save millions more lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency. Learn more at www.gavi.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organizations that fund Gavi’s work here.

About WHO

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.
 
For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit www.who.int and follow WHO on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTok,  PinterestSnapchatYouTube

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 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. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.unicef.org/coronavirus . Find out more about UNICEF’s work on the COVID-19 vaccines here, or about UNICEF’s work on immunization here.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.

About the ACT-Accelerator

The Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator, is a new, ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March and launched by the WHO, European Commission, France and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020.

The ACT-Accelerator is not a decision-making body or a new organisation but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organisations to end the pandemic. It is a framework for collaboration that has been designed to bring key players around the table with the goal of ending the pandemic as quickly as possible through the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines, thereby protecting health systems and restoring societies and economies in the near term. It draws on the experience of leading global health organisations which are tackling the world’s toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, are able to unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it.

The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health system connector. Cross-cutting all of these is the workstream on Access & Allocation.

Media contacts

Visith Khamlusa
Director
Center of Communication and Education for Health
Tel: +856 20 2250 2862
CEPI global press office
Tel: +44 7387 055214

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 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.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook