Unicef ​​prepares a historic operation to distribute vaccines against COVID-19

UNICEF is already working with large airlines and transport companies to prepare the supply of vaccines against COVID-19 to 92 countries as soon as they are available, in what will be the largest operation of its kind in history.

In a statement, the UN agency for children explained this Sunday that it is studying the logistics necessary to transport around 2 billion doses during 2021 and for this he has met with large airlines and with more than 350 partners in the logistics sector, including air and maritime transport companies.

“As work continues to develop vaccines against COVID-19, UNICEF is accelerating efforts with airlines, freight companies, shipping companies and other logistics associations to supply vital vaccines. in the fastest and safest way possible ”, Etleva Kadilli, director of the agency’s Supply Division, said in the note.

“A huge operation”

According to Unicef, this collaboration must ensure that there is sufficient transportation capacity for a “historic and huge operation” to deliver vaccines, syringes and more protective equipment for frontline workers.

In the coming weeks, Unicef ​​plans to analyze the existing transport capacity to identify possible problems and needs in what is expected to be the largest and largest supply operation of its kind in history.

The UN agency, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), will be in charge of coordinating the purchase and delivery of vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries.

They will be vaccines from manufacturers that have reached agreements with the Covax platform, the mechanism led by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Innovations in Preparedness for Epidemics and the World Health Organization (WHO) to facilitate access to immunization to all countries.

Refrigeration

UNICEF has extensive experience in vaccination campaigns and is, in fact, the world’s largest vaccine buyer each year.

Annually, the agency secures more than 2 billion doses of various disease vaccines for routine immunizations and in response to outbreaks representing nearly a hundred countries.

Thus, it has experience in coordinating thousands of shipments with different refrigeration requirements, a vital issue for the COVID-19 vaccine, since for example the product developed by Pfizer and BioNTech – the first to request approval from the authorities – needs keep at 70 degrees Celsius below zero.

This makes the supply consider especially problematic in less developed countries, where systems capable of maintaining those temperatures are scarce, although companies like Pfizer are working on special equipment to ship vaccines in the required conditions.

Other diseases

In addition, Unicef ​​underlines the need for great coordination to prevent the coronavirus immunization project from affecting routine programs for other diseases.

“The support of governments, partners and the private sector will be essential to transport vaccines against deadly diseases such as measles, diphtheria and tetanus, just like COVID-19, in the most efficient way possible, ”Kadilli said.

Unicef ​​began last month to accumulate more than 1 billion syringes in order to ensure its availability in 2021, for vaccination against covid-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the agency explains that it has already delivered equipment against the coronavirus such as masks, oxygen and diagnostic tests worth 190 million dollars.

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