899,730 Pfizer Doses Donated by the United States Arrive in Lao PDR
This allotment of COVID-19 vaccines is the second of two total shipments consisting of almost 1.7 million doses from the US delivered to Lao PDR through the COVAX Facility.
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Vientiane, January 24, 2022 – Today, Lao PDR received a new shipment of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine via direct donation by the United States through the COVAX Facility. COVAX is a partnership co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO), with UNICEF as a key delivery partner.
This new shipment consists of 899,730 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and is the second of two total donations from the US to Lao PDR this month. The first shipment of 799,110 doses arrived in Lao PDR on January, 2 2022. The combined total of both shipments this year is 1,698,840 doses.
The shipment was received by H.E. Dr. Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, Minister of Health, at the Wattay International Airport, who was joined by Dr. Peter M. Haymond, U.S. Ambassador to Lao PDR, Mr. Michael Ronning, Country Representative for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Ms. Beate Dastel, UNICEF Representative a.i. to Lao PDR, and Dr. Yu Lee Park, WHO Officer-in-charge to Lao PDR.
A formal handover ceremony for both shipments of Pfizer BioNTech vaccines between the Government of Lao PDR and the United States is scheduled for 26 January 2022 at the Ministry of Health.
The donation builds upon the one million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines the United States previously donated to Lao PDR in July 2021 and will help to protect lives in Lao PDR while preventing dangerous new variants from spreading.
The Pfizer BioNTech vaccines provided by the United States will be administered to priority groups in line with the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan. These include adolescents aged 12 to 17 years, as well as other priority groups, including people 60 years and above, people with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women. The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine was reviewed for safety and efficacy by WHO and is the first COVID-19 vaccine recommended by WHO for use in individuals aged 12 and above.
This contribution from the United States will support Lao PDR’s efforts to vaccinate 80 percent of its population by the end of 2022 and will contribute to the COVAX Facility’s mission of ensuring global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic. In addition, the United States, through USAID, UNICEF, and WHO, is strengthening Lao PDR's capacity to safely and effectively distribute COVID-19 vaccines. To date, the United States has provided over $13 million of support to Lao PDR since the pandemic began to expand COVID-19 testing, keep health workers safe with personal protective equipment, and strengthen disease surveillance.
Lao PDR Ministry of Health
Mr. Visith Khamlusa, Director of the Center of Communication and Education for Health, +856 20 2250 2862, firstname.lastname@example.org
CEPI global press office
Telephone: +44 7387 055214
Meghana Sharafudeen email@example.com
Iryna Mazur firstname.lastname@example.org
Evan O'Connell email@example.com
Laura Shevlin firstname.lastname@example.org
UNICEF Lao PDR country office
Maria Fernandez, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Lao PDR, +856 20 5551 9681, email@example.com
WHO Lao PDR country office
Irene Tan, Communication Consultant, WHO, +856 20 55567028, firstname.lastname@example.org
WHO Global +41 22 791 2222 email@example.com
United States Embassy Vientiane
Athit Chanthalath, Communication Specialist, USAID Laos, +856 20 55552833, AChanthalath@usaid.gov
Notes to Editors
A 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 the United States
The U.S. has been among the first countries to provide COVID-19 support to the Lao PDR. To date, the U.S., through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), has contributed over USD 13 million to help Lao PDR control the spread of COVID-19 by providing much needed-medical and laboratory equipment, training thousands of health workers, and vaccination efforts. The United States is also the largest contributor to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
In addition to the COVID-19 emergency assistance, the U.S. has also worked in close partnership with the government and the people of the Lao PDR on a range of programs to improve health outcomes in the country over the past 20 years, including long-term initiatives to improve nutrition through school feeding, programs to address maternal and child health, assistance for persons with disabilities and efforts to address and prevent infectious diseases. For more information, visit https://la.usembassy.gov/, and follow the U.S. Embassy Vientiane page on Facebook.
COVAX, the vaccine 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 countries’ 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 high- and low-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 vaccines. 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 for 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 programs 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.
CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organizations, 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 the 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).
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 immunize 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 countries, 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.
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. The WHO’s 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 Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube
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 organization but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organizations 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.
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.