Joint statement by GAVI, UNICEF and WHO on efforts to accelerate COVID vaccine availability in Myanmar

Joint statement

30 September 2021

YANGON, 30 September 2021 - Myanmar’s low levels of COVID vaccination coverage compared to other countries in the Southeast Asia Region, combined with limited capacity for testing and disease control, has resulted in a serious COVID-19 outbreak.
 
Since the onset of the pandemic, more than 460,000 COVID-19 cases and almost 18,000 deaths have been reported in Myanmar, with 318,249 cases and 14,422 deaths occurring since May 1st. To date, only 6.8 per cent of the population has received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, while an additional 13.1 per cent has received at least one dose. Until broad coverage of COVID-19 vaccination is achieved, the situation is unlikely to improve.
 
As part of efforts by the United Nations and its partners to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination availability, the COVAX[1] facility has preliminarily allocated 6.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for Myanmar. These doses must be distributed according to WHO prioritization guidelines.  
 
Final allocation of these vaccine supplies to Myanmar will be contingent on whether they can be delivered at the required speed and scale to all Myanmar people, in a neutral and impartial manner, irrespective of their ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status or political affiliation. It will also be contingent on the availability of appropriate cold chain infrastructure and on guarantees around the safety of health care workers being in place. 
 
In this regard, GAVI, UNICEF and WHO are engaging in ongoing dialogue with key stakeholders to identify the modalities through which the above conditions can be achieved, allowing this humanitarian response to proceed with the ultimate aim of saving lives and as a first step towards revitalizing Myanmar’s immunization system. 

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[1] COVAX is a partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and UNICEF; it aims to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

 

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UNICEF has been working with the Government and the people of Myanmar since 1950. In partnership with the Government and the civil society, UNICEF’s current focus of work aims at reducing child mortality, improving access and quality of education and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation. 

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