Cote d’Ivoire among the first countries to receive the first wave of COVAX vaccines

25 February 2021

NEW YORK, 25 February 2021 - 

WHAT: On Friday 26 February 2021, Cote d’Ivoire will receive 504,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility. The vaccines and other equipment are being transported across the world by UNICEF as part of the efforts by the COVAX Facility to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with UNICEF leading on procurement and delivery of vaccines.  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.

WHEN: 9.00 am GMT, Friday 26 February 2021, Abidjan International Airport.

To be followed by b-roll and multimedia content from the landing of COVAX vaccines – available after 10.00 am GMT 26 February 2021. Download multimedia content of the vaccines arriving in Abidjan tomorrow. This folder also includes multimedia content of the vaccines landing in Ghana on 24 February and being packaged in India.

WHO: List of spokespersons available to speak about the COVAX rollout include:

Name/ designation



Dr Eugène Aka Aouélé

Minister of Health and Public Hygiene


Marc Vincent
UNICEF Representative in Côte d’Ivoire

English, French

Dr Jean Marie Vianney Yameogo

WHO Representative in Côte d’Ivoire

English, French

Dr Epa Kouakou

Immunization Specialist, UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire


James Fulker

Representative, Gavi, l’Alliance du Vaccin


Evan O’Connell

Representative, Gavi, l’Alliance du Vaccin




Celestin Traore

UNICEF’s Regional Immunization Advisor, West and Central Africa (based in Dakar, Senegal)

English, French

Dr. Robin Nandy

UNICEF’s Chief of Immunization

English, Hindi

Benjamin Schreiber

Deputy Chief for UNICEF’s global immunization programme /

UNICEF’s coordinator for COVID-19 vaccines

English, French, German

Gian Gandhi

COVID-19 vaccines coordinator for UNICEF’s Supply Division


Mounir Bouazar

UNICEF’s Global Logistics Lead on COVID-19 vaccines

English, French, Arabic

Michelle Seidel

UNICEF’s Cold Chain Specialist


Thomas Sorensen

Cold Chain expert, UNICEF Supply Division

English/ Danish

Robert Matthews

Syringes expert


WHY: The global pandemic has already caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and disrupted the lives of billions of people. In addition to reducing the tragic number of deaths and bringing the pandemic under control, the introduction of a vaccine will also prevent US $ 375 billion in losses to the global economy each month. Global and equitable access to a vaccine, which will protect in particular health workers and those at greatest risk of contracting the disease, is the only way to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on public health and at the economic level. The vaccines are transported through the facilities offered by UNICEF within the framework of COVAX.

Media contacts

Sabrina Sidhu
Tel: +1 917 476 1537
Sandra Bisin
UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office
Tel: +221 77 819 2300

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit For more information about COVID-19, visit . Find out more about UNICEF’s work on the COVID-19 vaccines here, or about UNICEF’s work on immunization here.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.

About CEPI

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics. CEPI has moved with great urgency and in coordination with WHO in response to the emergence of COVID-19. CEPI has initiated ten partnerships to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus. The programmes are leveraging rapid response platforms already supported by CEPI as well as new partnerships.

Before the emergence of COVID-19, CEPI’s priority diseases included Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever and Chikungunya virus. CEPI also invested in platform technologies that can be used for rapid vaccine and immunoprophylactic development against unknown pathogens (Disease X).

About Gavi

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 822 million children – and prevented more than 14 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation and reaching the unvaccinated children still being left behind, employing innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save millions more lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organizations that fund Gavi’s work here.

About WHO

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.
For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit and follow WHO on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTokPinterestSnapchatYouTube