COVAX: ensuring global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines

At this historic moment in time, UNICEF has all-hands-on deck to secure and supply COVID-19 vaccines.

A nurse prepares a syringe for vaccination
26 January 2021

The largest vaccine procurement and supply operation ever is underway – and UNICEF is leading it on behalf of the Global COVAX Facility.

We are working to ensure that all countries participating in the Facility (currently 190) have equitable access to 2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.


Through the COVAX Facility – led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and CEPI – UNICEF is working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as freight, logistics and storage. In collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, we are leading the procurement and delivery for 92 low- and lower middle-income countries while also supporting procurement for more than 97 upper-middle-income and high-income nations. Together, these represent more than four-fifths of the world’s population.


When a safe and effective vaccine is approved by WHO, UNICEF will begin the operation to transport vaccines from manufacturers to countries. The initial 2 billion doses are intended to protect frontline health care and social workers, as well as high risk and vulnerable people.


As the largest single vaccine buyer in the world, UNICEF has a unique and longstanding expertise in procurement and logistics to help children in need. UNICEF procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunisation and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. We are the main procurement partner of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and have helped reach more than 760 million children with life-saving vaccines over the last 20 years, preventing more than 13 million deaths.

In vaccinating health workers globally, we ensure that health care workers can get back to work so that children and their mothers get the critical health care they need - vaccinations, treatment of malnutrition and other deadly diseases such as malaria and diarrhea, as well as obstetric, prenatal and post-natal care along with services for newborns. These are critical services without which millions of children’s lives are at stake given the widespread disruptions to essential services during  lockdowns. We cannot let one disease lead to outbreaks of other diseases that could reverse years of progress in child health.