2.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine supplied through COVAX start being rolled out in Pakistan

The US-donated vaccines were delivered by the COVAX facility, the global COVID-19 vaccine equity scheme, as part of its dose-sharing mechanism.

04 July 2021
Moderna arrival
UNICEF/Pakistan/Sami Malik

ISLAMABAD, 4 July 2021 – Today 2.5 million doses of Moderna (mRNA-1273) COVID-19 vaccines supplied through the COVAX Facility’s dose-sharing mechanism, and donated by the United States, started being distributed by the Government of Pakistan to vaccinate priority groups across the country, in line with the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan.

So far three million people have been fully vaccinated and 13.5 million partially vaccinated in Pakistan, using vaccines which the Government procured through COVAX or through bilateral agreements. More than 960,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country since the start of the outbreak and at least 22,379 people have succumbed to the disease.

“WHO applauds Pakistan’s achievement of effectively scaling-up its vaccination campaign across the country. The available COVID-19 vaccines have been equitably distributed and have reached even the remotest areas of Pakistan, protecting millions. Science, solutions and solidarity have been the tools for addressing the biggest health threat of the past century. We thank the Government of United States for showing their solidarity through this donation,” said Dr Palitha Mahipala, WHO Representative in Pakistan. “WHO will continue supporting the Government of Pakistan to swiftly and safely administer the donated doses of vaccines and advocate with COVAX partners for the provision of sufficient vaccines to reach all vulnerable populations.”

The arrival of this consignment is welcome news as the latest wave of COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on children and their families in South Asia. There is an urgent need to intensify efforts and take additional steps to close gaps and strengthen essential health services to protect the most vulnerable families.  

In the spirit of solidarity, well-supplied countries are allocating extra doses of COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle- income countries. This can help limit the spread of COVID-19, prevent new variants from emerging and ensure that vaccines can be allocated equitably to countries.

“UNICEF thanks the Government of United States for its generous donation of the vaccines to Pakistan through the COVAX facility and looks forward to more vaccines being available in the country as other COVAX partners share their excess doses of vaccines” said Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. ”Only global solidarity can help curb the pandemic. When the virus spreads anywhere, it poses a threat everywhere — especially as it mutates into deadlier or more contagious variants. UNICEF will continue to procure and supply safe, effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccines in low- and middle-income countries, on behalf of COVAX, and to support the Government of Pakistan in ensuring an efficient and effective roll-out of the vaccination campaign through procurement services of essential COVID-19 supplies; expansion of cold chain capacity to ensure safe storage of vaccines; and risk communication and community engagement to increase vaccine uptake and ensure adherence to COVID-19 safety measures.”

Strictly complying with COVID-19 safety measures remains crucial to curb the spread of virus. These include regularly washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds or use a sanitizer; wear a mask; remain at least six feet away from other people; avoid crowded places; and stay home when having COVID-19 symptoms.

“At this time of constrained global supply, we are delighted to see dose-sharing pledges translated into immediate deliveries through the COVAX Facility and today’s shipment means we can now reach and protect those most at risk in Pakistan.” said Mario Jimenez, Gavi Programme Manager for Pakistan. “The only way we will beat this pandemic is as one global community acting together."

The COVAX Facility aims to help address the acute phase of the global pandemic by the end of 2021 by providing rapid, fair, and equitable access to approved vaccines to all participating countries, regardless of income level. It enables the protection of frontline health care and social workers, as well as other high-risk and vulnerable groups.

COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access) is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, together with UNICEF. It is funded thanks to generous support from partner governments, foundations, and private-sector corporations. So far it has delivered more than 90 million doses of different COVID-19 vaccines to 133 countries and territories around the world.

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Notes to editors:

So far donors to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, European Union, Australia, Bhutan, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Monaco, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Anonymous Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, KS Relief/Gamers Without Borders, Mastercard, Medline International, Nikkei Inc., Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin, Shell, Thistledown Foundation, TikTok, Transferwise, Soccer Aid. 

The list of donor pledges to COVAX AMC is available here

Media contacts

Eliane Luthi
Regional Chief of Communication
UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia
Tel: +977-98010 30076
Catherine Weibel
Chief, Advocacy and Communication
UNICEF Pakistan
Tel: +92 51 209 7810
Tel: +92 300 500 2595 (mobile)

About COVAX

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by CEPI, Gavi and WHO – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, 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 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 leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX: designing and managing the COVAX Facility and the Gavi COVAX AMC and working with its traditional 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, holds financial and legal relationships with 193 Facility participants, and manages the COVAX Facility deals portfolio: negotiating advance purchase agreements with manufacturers of promising vaccine candidates to secure doses on behalf of all COVAX Facility participants. Gavi also coordinates design, operationalisation and fundraising for the Gavi COVAX AMC, the mechanism that provides access to donor-funded doses of vaccine to 92 lower-income economies. As part of this work, Gavi provides funding and oversight for UNICEF procurement and delivery of vaccines to all AMC participants – operationalising the advance purchase agreements between Gavi and manufacturers – as well as support for partners’ and governments work on readiness and delivery. This includes tailored support to governments, UNICEF, WHO and other partners for cold chain equipment, technical assistance, syringes, vehicles, and other aspects of the vastly complex logistical operation for delivery. Gavi also co-designed, raises funds for and supports the operationalisation of the AMC’s no-fault compensation mechanism as well as the COVAX Humanitarian Buffer

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, along with UNICEF, the support to countries as they prepare to receive and administer vaccines. The Country Readiness and Delivery (CRD) workstream includes Gavi and numerous other partners working at the global, regional, and country-level to provide tools, guidance, monitoring, and on the ground technical assistance for the planning and roll-out of the vaccines. Along with COVAX partners, WHO is also developing a no-fault compensation scheme as part of the time-limited indemnification and liability commitments. 

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 immunization 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. 

 

About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

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 lower-income 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 www.gavi.org 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 www.who.int and follow WHO on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTokPinterestSnapchatYouTube. Follow WHO Pakistan on Twitter and Facebook.

 

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. 

UNICEF’s Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) works with UNICEF Country Offices in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to help to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfil their potential. For more information about UNICEF’s work for children in South Asia, visit www.unicef.org/rosa and follow UNICEF ROSA on Twitter and Facebook.

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