COVAX is finally here, and more to come

Ensuring equal and quick access to COVID-19 vaccines

By Lulutani Tembo
A plane carrying Malawi's first batch of 360,000 COVID-19 Vaccines lands at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.
UNICEF Malawi/COVAX/2021/Kabuye
10 March 2021

There was a big round of applause when the Emirates plane touched down at Kamuzu International Airport with 360,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines procured under the COVAX initiative. Everyone was buzzing with excitement while waiting for the supplies to offload.

UNICEF staff stand by the plane to receive Malaw's first batch of 360,000 COVID-19 vaccines procured under the COVAX facility
UNICEF Malawi/COVAX/2021/Kabuye

“I am very happy about the vaccine arrival today and to be a part of this historic moment. There has been lot of work that has been done planning for the COVAX arrival, and now we have to get the vaccine to the people.” – Steve Macheso (R), UNICEF Health Specialist

Group photo for high level officials waiting for the COVAX supplies to be offloaded from the plane
UNICEF Malawi/COVAX/2021/Tembo

On the tarmac, the UNICEF Country Representative, the UN Resident Coordinator, heads of development agencies, members of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 including the Ministers of Health and Education, pose for a group photo with their COVAX posters. The COVAX initiative has played an important role in ensuring every country, even those with the smallest economies have equal and quick access to COVID-19 vaccines.

UNICEF staff inspecting the COVAX supplies at Kamuzu International Airport
UNICEF Malawi/COVAX/2021/Kabuye

The UNICEF country representative inspecting the supplies along with UNICEF health and supply colleagues.

“As the largest vaccine buyer in the world, UNICEF is coordinating and supporting the procurement, international freight, and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines for the COVAX Facility. It is a proud moment for everyone.” – Rudolf Schwenk, UNICEF Country Representative

UNICEF Country Rep Rudolf Schwenk entaracts with Tedla Damte
UNICEF Malawi/COVAX/2021/Kabuye

“Scientists were kept busy trying to discover a vaccine, now the vaccine has arrived in Malawi, and I have no doubt about the rollout of this vaccine because Malawi has already performed well in the expansion of immunization programmes. We have a very strong cold chain system, with strong capacity and leadership at the Ministry of Health, this is going to be a very successful rollout in Malawi.”  - Tedla Damte (R), UNICEF Chief of Health

Malawi Defense Force personnel escorting the COVAX supplies to the cargo area at Kamuzu International Airport
UNICEF Malawi/COVAX/2021/Kabuye

Malawi Defence Force personnel escorting the vaccines from the plane to the cargo area.

COVAX supplies being loaded to a truck
UNICEF Malawi/COVAX/2021/Tembo

The vaccines were then loaded on to a truck to transport to cold chain storages. The next shipment of 1.6 million vaccines under the COVAX facility is expected to arrive in the country in mid-march. In total, Malawi is expected to receive 7.6 million doses of vaccines to vaccinate at least 20 per cent of the population.