One year after the start of the pandemic in Senegal, the country will receive a first batch of 324,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX initiative.
DAKAR, 02 March 2021 – One year after the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 case, Senegal will receive a first batch of 324,000 doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine licensed by the Serum Institute of India via the COVAX initiative. UNICEF is procuring these vaccines expected on March 3rd. In preparation for the arrival of these vaccines, UNICEF has also supported the provision of syringes and safety boxes. These are essential supplies to enable the start of the vaccination campaign targeting priority populations.
Senegal is one of the first countries to receive vaccines through the COVAX initiative which will cover 20% of the population prioritizing the most vulnerable, i.e. front-line health workers, persons beyond sixty years old and persons with co-morbidities. An additional 1 million doses will be delivered in the second quarter of 2021 and will be followed by other COVID-19 vaccines deliveries throughout 2021.
COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. COVAX is co-led by the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), working in partnership with UNICEF as a key implementing partner for vaccine procurement and delivery.
The goal of the COVAX initiative is to provide nations with equitable and affordable access to safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19, regardless of their income level. It is an international solidarity mechanism set up for the benefit of 92 low- and middle-income countries to collectively and effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
«Vaccines save lives. Immunization of front-line health workers and vulnerable populations will allow a gradual return to normality. This will benefit the entire population, in particular children by promoting access to health, education and protection services. UNICEF is working tirelessly alongside other partners to assist the Government in the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine and the roll-out of the vaccination campaign throughout the country. We must leave no one behind to reach universal health coverage. » said UNICEF Representative Silvia Danailov.
The COVAX initiative aims to deliver 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine across 92 countries by 2021 and to ship more than 14.5 million syringes to more than 30 countries. Even before the pandemic, UNICEF was already the world's largest vaccine buyer, procuring more than 2 billion doses of vaccine each year for nearly half of the world's children under the age of five.
In Senegal, since the beginning of the pandemic, the United Nations system, including through technical support from WHO and UNICEF, has been actively engaged in collaboration with other partners and alongside the Ministry of Health and Social Action to support the national response to COVID-19 and to facilitate vaccine delivery. To date, Senegal reports more than 34,000 positive cases of COVID-19, including over 850 deaths.
«Senegal is among the first countries in Africa to receive the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines through the COVAX facility. This holds great promise in the light of the increasing number of new cases of infection and deaths. We are pleased to acknowledge that the COVAX facility has delivered on its promise of global and equitable access to a vaccine that will protect health workers and those at greatest risk of contracting the virus. Only through this global mobilisation can the impact of the pandemic on public health and the economy be mitigated. » Said Dr Lucile Imboua, Représentante Résident de l’OMS.
«The COVAX initiative, in which Senegal is a member, is a further proof that it is only by joining forces that we will overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. We applaud the efforts of all the partners who have brought new hope for global and equitable access to the vaccines. We also congratulate the Government of Senegal and all partners for the tremendous work of diligent planning, logistics and preparation of a national immunization deployment plan, supported by the United Nations family, which remains committed to ensuring that no one is left behind. We stand together to be vaccinated for our health and that of our loved ones. » said Siaka Coulibaly, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations system in Senegal.
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COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (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 focused 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 is focused on procurement and delivery for COVAX: coordinating the design, implementation and administration of the COVAX Facility and the Gavi COVAX AMC and working with its Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery. The COVAX Facility is the global pooled procurement mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines through which COVAX will ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for all 190 participating economies, using an allocation framework formulated by WHO. The COVAX Facility will do this by pooling buying power from participating economies and providing volume guarantees across a range of promising vaccine candidates. The Gavi COVAX AMC is the financing mechanism that will support the participation of 92 low- and middle-income countries in the Facility, enabling access to donor-funded doses of safe and effective vaccines. Gavi is fundraising for the COVAX AMC, and funding UNICEF procurement of vaccines as well as partners’ and governments work on readiness and delivery, including support cold chain equipment, technical assistance, syringes, vehicles, and other aspects of the vastly complex logistical operation for delivery. UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) will be acting as procurement coordinators for the COVAX Facility, helping deliver vaccines to COVAX AMC participants and others.
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.
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.