Madagascar receives first batch of 250,000 vaccine doses as part of the COVAX initiative

Joint press release

08 May 2021
UNICEF Madagascar/2021

Antananarivo, 08 May 2021 - Madagascar received today a batch of 250,000 doses of Covishield / AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, through the global COVAX initiative. This delivery is part of a first allocation that will continue in the coming weeks so as to cover at first 20% of the population of Madagascar.

The doses of vaccines manufactured in India and transported by UNICEF were received at the international airport of Ivato - by the Minister of Public Health, Professor Jean Louis HANITRALA RAKOTOVAO with members of the COVAX mechanism, namely UNICEF and WHO Representatives in Madagascar led by the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations system and the CEPI Representatives, specifically the Ambassadors of the United States, European Union and United Kingdom, whose funding made the manufacture, transport and distribution of the vaccines possible.

This first delivery will be carried out to vaccinate frontline actors in the fight against COVID-19 in Madagascar, in particular health workers, front-line security forces, social workers as well as other vulnerable groups and those over 70 years of age. 3% of high-risk groups will be covered by the first wave of vaccination which will begin on 10 May 2021.

"I would like to extend my gratitude to the members of the COVAX mechanism as well as to the various donors for their financial contribution so that countries like Madagascar benefit from safe and effective vaccines in a spirit of equity. Vaccination is one of the effective preventive actions that will be added to the strategies already developed by the Malagasy State in consultation with scientists from the Madagascar’s National Academy of Medicine to reduce the health, economic and social impact of this pandemic. Together, we will ensure that these vaccines reach those who really need them," said the Minister of Public Health, Professor Jean Louis HANITRALA RAKOTOVAO.

Madagascar thus joins the long list of African countries that have benefited from the COVAX initiative, which plans to deliver at least two billion doses of vaccine in 2021. More than 53 million doses have already been delivered across six continents to date; more than 45 African countries have launched the vaccination.

With the support of its partners, namely GAVI (Vaccine Alliance), WHO, the World Bank, USAID and UNICEF, the Ministry of Health started training health staff to carry out the vaccination campaign earlier this week.

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

The COVAX initiative is a global partnership between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), GAVI, UNICEF and WHO, which was established to ensure that all countries can fairly access COVID-19 vaccines.


Quotes from donors and partners:


Michael Peter Pelletier, United States Ambassador to Madagascar: "I would like to commend the Government of Madagascar on its decision to join the COVAX initiative and provide vaccines to meet the greatest needs of its population. The United States is proud to be the largest contributor to COVAX, to ensure equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for Madagascar and the whole world".

Giovanni di Girolamo, Ambassador of the European Union to Madagascar and the Comoros: "The European Union, represented by the Commission and its member States within the "Team Europe", is proud to receive the first COVID 19 vaccines on Malagasy soil. With funding of 2.47 billion Euros, the "Team Europe" is delighted to be the second contributor to this mechanism set up to promote vaccination in low-income countries. Since the start of the pandemic, the EU has promoted a multilateral and united approach. The friendship between Madagascar and the European Union is further strengthened by this new support".

David Ashley, Ambassador of the United Kingdom: "The arrival of the first doses of vaccines through the COVAX initiative is good news. The vaccine rollout will ensure the protection of the most vulnerable against COVID19 in Madagascar, starting with the medical staff who courageously battle the second wave of the pandemic despite the very high risks. The UK is proud to be among the partners committed to COVAX, with £548 million funding, while encouraging other countries to follow us, so that all countries can benefit from the safe and effective vaccines that are developed".

Dr Magdi Ibrahim, Country Manager at the Secretariat of GAVI, Vaccine Alliance: "For Madagascar, today’s receipt of Covid-19 vaccines is an important milestone in the equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, which will help immunize in the first stage, by the end of June, nearly 250,000 priority people according to the national vaccine deployment plan. GAVI is delighted that the COVAX Facility has been able to materialize this first wave of deliveries that have been made to help immunize the most vulnerable people, including frontline health workers in the fight against this pandemic ".

Issa SANOGO, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Madagascar: "The arrival of vaccines in Madagascar is a beacon of hope. It marks an historic milestone in our commitment in the COVID-19 fight to save lives in response to this global pandemic. I thank the national authorities for their efforts in finding additional solutions to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths. All our gratitude goes to the partners of the COVAX Initiative: Gavi, CEPI, WHO and UNICEF. The fight continues, and let us ensure that other doses arrive quickly so as to fill the gap and so that the population can have access to vaccination."

Charlotte Faty Ndiaye, WHO Representative in Madagascar: "We are delighted to see the COVAX initiative realized in Madagascar with the arrival of these 250,000 doses of COVISHIELD / ASTRAZENECA. The COVAX initiative thus ensures an equitable distribution of vaccines; we consider vaccination against COVID19 an essential means for controlling this pandemic and ensuring the continuity of essential health services. WHO will continue to play its role in the fight against the spread of diseases and implementing international health regulations."

Michel Saint-Lot, UNICEF Representative in Madagascar: "Vaccination saves lives every year. With the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, it is a glimmer of hope for us all. Among the targets to be vaccinated as a priority are those who ensure the right to health and protection for every child. Indeed, the only way to defeat the pandemic is to make sure that vaccination is accessible to everyone. Our thanks are extended to all our donor partners who support us on a daily basis in this initiative. We are together. And that’s how we’ll win".

Media contacts

Timothy James Irwin
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Madagascar
Fanja Saholiarisoa
Communication Officer
UNICEF Madagascar

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