COVID-19 vaccines arrive as the COVAX Facility becomes a reality in Mali

05 March 2021
396,000 doses of COVAX vaccines have touched down at the international airport in Bamako !  Members of the Delegation at the airport The President of Mali, Bah N’Daw The Prime Minister and Head of Government, Moctar Ouane The Minister for Health and Social Development, Fanta Siby The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Mali and Head of MINUSMA, Mahamat Saleh ANNADIF UNICEF Representative in Mali, Sylvie Fouet OMS Representative in Mali, Dr Jean Pierre Baptiste Members of the Diplomatic Cor
UNICEF Mali/2021/Dicko

Mali has just taken delivery of 396,000 doses of the vaccines against COVID-19. President Bah N’Daw led the official delegation to the international airport in Bamako to take delivery of the consignment.

This consignment was received as part of the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, GAVI, UNICEF and WHO. This is a historic event that contributes to the objective of ensuring an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

The arrival of this first consignment kicks off a series of deliveries expected over the coming months. UNICEF has confirmed Mali’s order for close to 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca AZD1222 vaccines from now until the end of 2021. The AstraZeneca AZD1222 vaccines are produced under licence by the Serum Institute of India (SII) within the COVAX Facility.

Mali becomes the first west African country in central Sahel to receive the vaccines against COVID-19 within the framework of the COVAX Facility. The initiative aims to provide some 2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, by the end of 2021. This is the largest supply operation ever, and the largest for any vaccine supply.

“I am very happy to say how satisfied l am to have taken delivery of this important consignment of 396,000 doses of the COVID vaccine today. I commend the formidable leadership of the Ministry for Health and Social Development, as well as the unflinching commitment of our international partners,” explained Moctar Ouane, the Prime Minister and Head of Government.  The Prime Minister also stressed the need to keep up the prevention protocols and not to let down the guard, so the downward trend of cases that he has observed can continue. “It will be recalled that this government working with civil society, traditional and religious leaders, unions and the private sector, has already put in place some complimentary measures, some of which include the mass distribution of free face masks.”

 “This is a very important time for Mali, for the African continent, and for COVAX. We are moving a step closer to our common objective of granting equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines” declared Pascal Rigaldiès, who is GAVI Alliance Country focal person for Mali at the GAVI secretariat.  “GAVI is pleased to see this COVAX Facility become reality in Mali with this first batch, that is going to protect the most vulnerable and the health workers on the frontline against the pandemic.” 

UNICEF received the financial support of GAVI among others, to increase the number of locations and the holding capacity to efficiently store the vaccines for the entire country: 10 cold stores, each with a capacity of 40 cubic metres, have been procured and installed at the national level, and each one of them is functioning well.  Ten other regional depots have been provided with 40KVA stand-by generators, as back up for power when needed.

“We have equipped 251 community health centres in the districts with solar-powered refrigerators, and an additional 288 fridges are expected to arrive soon in the country. All these have been made possible with the assistance of our technical and financial partners” indicated Sylvie Fouet, UNICEF Representative. “Vaccines are life-saving. No-one is safe until everyone is safe,” she concludes.

For Dr Jean Pierre Baptiste, WHO Representative in Mali, “Today marks an historical moment as far as our objective goes to provide COVID-19 vaccines equitably around the world. Mali today stands with the front-runners, the countries that have received their COVID-19 vaccines, thanks the efforts of the national authorities, and the support of the financial and technical partners. We are going to work together so that the groups that have been identified to be served, get vaccinated as soon as possible in order to break the chain and the spread of the disease. Let me congratulate the government of Mali on the arrival of this first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines, and wish them the very best in the vaccination process”

From our Partners and Donors

Bart Ouvry, EU Ambassador to Mali

“The European Union and its 15 members states provide a significant contribution in funding to the COVAX Facility and we are no doubt pleased to see the arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines in Mali today. It is a mark of solidarity between the people of Mali and “Team Europe” and with other contributors to the COVAX ACT initiative. The efforts must continue until the pandemic disappears, and we are committed to continue to provide the funding for the more vaccines and for effective vaccination on the ground. In Mali, the vaccination activities will first cover the most vulnerable groups of people. We hope that in the long run, the entire population can be vaccinated. TeamEurope commends the government, UNICEF, WHO, CEPI and GAVI for the delivery of these first doses of the vaccine in Mali. We pay our respects to the health teams, who have been on the frontlines, dealing with this virus since the beginning. We will overcome the pandemic, if we all stick together.”

Barry Lowen, United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Mali

“The United Kingdom is pleased with the deployment of 396,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine under COVAX in Mali. The United Kingdom was one of the first countries to back COVAX with a contribution of £548 million and we have constantly pushed the international community to step up and support it. We do this because we want to be a force for good in the world and because we all need a global solution to a global pandemic. We are working to ensure that the most vulnerable have equitable access to the vaccine.”

Paul Cunningham, Director of Public Affairs, USAID Mali

“The United States of America is determined to work with partners around the world to put an end to the devastating effects of this pandemic on public health and on economies.  President Biden has announced a pledge of 4 billion dollars to support international vaccination under the COVAX initiative, which is facilitating access to the anti-COVID-19 vaccines around the world.”

Dr. Dr. Dietrich Pohl, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Mali

“Germany stands firmly beside Mali, especially in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The first batch of vaccines for the people of Mali bears witness to our solidarity. In addition to the contributions we have already made, the Federal Government of Germany will provide an additional 1.5 billion Euros to the platform which WHO coordinates, and that is the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. Just as is being done today, our support will continue so as to ensure the supply of the vaccines worldwide, through the COVAX Facility.”

Marie Legault, Ambassador of Canada to Mali a.i.

"Canada welcomes the arrival of this first batch of anti-Covid-19 vaccines in Mali. Canada is committed to supporting equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines and has committed a total of $ 865 million to support efforts to accelerate global access to medical countermeasures (vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics) against COVID-19, including $ 325 million in COVAX to purchase doses for low and middle income countries.  Equitable, timely and affordable access to effective diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines will be essential in slowing and defeating this pandemic."

Members of the Delegation at the airport

The President of Mali, Bah N’Daw

The Prime Minister and Head of Government, Moctar Ouane

The Minister for Health and Social Development, Fanta Siby

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Mali and Head of MINUSMA, Mahamat Saleh ANNADIF

UNICEF Representative in Mali, Sylvie Fouet

UNICEF Representative in Mali, Dr Jean Pierre Baptiste

Members of the Diplomatic Corps in Mali


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 UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organisations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others.

Media contacts

Ismail Maiga
Communication Specialist
Tel: + (223) 76 40 91 01
Fatou Diagne
Communication Specialist
Tel: + 223 71 17 03 55

Additional resources

« Au niveau des dépôts des Centres de Santé Communautaires (CSCom) dans les districts, nous avons fourni et installé 251 réfrigérateurs et 288 autres arriveront bientôt, grâce au concours de nos partenaires techniques et financiers. » a déclaré Sylvie Fouet la Représentante de l’UNICEF au Mali. « Les vaccins nous protègent, mais personne n’est à l’abri tant que nous ne sommes pas tous protégés, » conclut-elle.

Photos and videos of vaccines arrival and the reception by the delegation at the airport


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