COVAX ships 828,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, 21 MAY 2021 – Malaysia has received the second batch of COVID-19 vaccines, shipped via the COVAX Facility, or COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Plan, a partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). This is another important step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting the immunization efforts by the government of Malaysia.
The 559,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived today follows the April 21st COVAX shipment of 268,800 doses to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In total, Malaysia has received 828,000 doses of the expected 1,387,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine provided by the COVAX Facility. The arrival in Kuala Lumpur marks an important milestone for the COVAX Facility in its effort to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.
The COVAX Facility is an unprecedented global effort to provide every country in the world with equitable access to safe COVID-19 vaccines as rapidly as possible. COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equal access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. The Government of Malaysia through the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation have been working together with WHO and UNICEF to bring life-saving vaccines to Malaysia.
“We are excited to see the second shipment of the COVID-19 vaccines as part of the COVAX Facility arriving in Malaysia this morning. We are very happy with this close partnership with the Government of Malaysia and relevant ministries for the opportunity to reach families and communities with life-saving vaccines. This is another contribution to the government’s effort to safeguard the lives of citizens and non-citizens in Malaysia. Our partnership will continue, and we will overcome this pandemic together”, said Dr Rashed Mustafa Sarwar, UNICEF Representative to Malaysia and Special Representative to Brunei Darussalam.
“The arrival of vaccines through COVAX Facility is timely as with the current surge of cases, we must take every opportunity available to vaccinate as many people as possible and reduce hospitalization and deaths. Priority should be given to those who need it most – senior citizens and people with other underlying health conditions. WHO and its partners are working to ensure that more and different types of vaccines are made available through COVAX Facility, and we encourage people in Malaysia to register for their vaccination while continuing to be vigilant, as that is our best chance to stay healthy and be protected against COVID-19,” said Dr Lo Ying-Ru Jacqueline, WHO Representative to Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore.
Based on current evidence, the COVID-19 vaccine can protect individuals from severe disease and reduce hospitalizations and deaths. Nevertheless, they should complement, and not replace, proven public health measures such as physical distancing, wearing masks, respiratory and hand hygiene, and avoiding crowded and enclosed settings.
Notes to Editors
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-convened by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, 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’s role in COVAX
CEPI is leading 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’s role in COVAX
Gavi is leading on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX: coordinating the design, implementation and administration of the COVAX Facility and the COVAX AMC and working with its Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery. As part of this role, Gavi hosts the Office of the COVAX Facility to coordinate the operation and governance of the mechanism as a whole, manages relationships with Facility participants, and negotiates advance purchase agreements with manufacturers of promising vaccine candidates on behalf of the 190 economies participating in the COVAX Facility. It also coordinates design, operation and fundraising for the COVAX AMC that supports 92 lower-income economies, including a no-fault compensation mechanism that will be administered by WHO. As part of this work, Gavi supports governments and partners on ensuring country readiness, providing funding and oversight of UNICEF procurement of vaccines as well as partners’ and governments work on readiness and delivery. This includes support for cold chain equipment, technical assistance, syringes, vehicles, and other aspects of the vastly complex logistical operation for delivery.
WHO’s role in COVAX
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, together with UNICEF, the Country Readiness and Delivery workstream, which provides support to countries as they prepare to receive and administer vaccines. Along with Gavi and numerous other partners working at the global, regional, and country-level, the CRD workstream provides tools, guidance, monitoring, and on the ground technical assistance for the planning and roll-out of the vaccines. Along with COVAX partners, WHO has developed a no-fault compensation scheme as part of the time-limited indemnification and liability commitments.
UNICEF’s role in COVAX
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 immunisation 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.
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 2020 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.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.