JOINT PRESS RELEASE: Sudan receives the first round of Pfizer vaccinations
KHARTOUM, 6 October 2021 – Sudan received the first shipment of over half a million doses of Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine as a donation from the United States Government through the COVAX facility.
The country will receive a total of 1,274,130 doses of Pfizer following the successful installation of five Ultra Cold Chain Units (UCCU) in the National Cold Storage facility of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), as part of sustained efforts in preparing Sudan to receive Pfizer and other vaccines requiring Ultra Cold Chain Units.
UCCU are units that are needed to store vaccines that require very cold temperatures, as cold as -70 degrees Celsius, to ensure the effectiveness of the doses.
“UNICEF has been working closely with the FMOH and the COVAX facility, for months to deliver and properly install the five UCCUs. In the last week of September, the UCCU were successfully tested and cleared for operation by experts,” said Mandeep O’Brien, UNICEF Sudan Representative.
In June 2021, the US government announced it will donate 500 million doses of Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine to the COVAX facility to be shared with countries in need. An additional pledge of 500 million doses was made in September 2021. This step required UNICEF to escalate its efforts to ensure that countries are well-prepared for this contribution. With the installation of the UCCU, Sudan is now prepared to receive any type COVID-19 vaccines including Pfizer.
“Our partnership with the Government of Sudan’s Ministry of Health and UNICEF to deliver these vaccines is critical to controlling the pandemic, slowing the emergence of new variants, and ensuring that Sudan and its people stay strong and healthy,” said Brian Shukan, the U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires.
The process of deploying UCCU requires a serious of actions starting with procurement of the right equipment, hands-on training for local partners and close follow-up to ensure the equipment is functioning up to standards. UNICEF is working with COVAX facility to deliver 350 units of UCC to more than 45 countries worldwide and as of July, more than 200 units were shipped to 24 countries.
“The Pfizer vaccine will be launched as part of our immunization program next week. We call on citizens in all parts of the country to take the opportunity to get vaccinated at the accredited health centers to help the country return back to normal,” stated Dr. Yosra Mohamed Osman, the Undersecretary of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).
Sudan plans to vaccinate 20 percent of the population, about 8.4 million people out of 42.3 million.
In the last six months, Sudan has received over 1.3 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines through different donations to the COVAX facility. The vaccines were delivered with UNICEF’s support through COVAX, a coalition co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Global Vaccines Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), working on the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to countries regardless of their income. Moreover, the Sudanese government has also purchased and received other vaccinations in the last few months.
Notes to Editors:
COVAX is working to ensure that all countries participating in the Facility (currently 190 including Sudan) have equitable access to at least 2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child and is committed to the children of Sudan. We never give up on finding solutions that provide immediate help to save the lives of children or provide durable support so that those children grow up with dignity, health and an education.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.