New Delhi (NVI): UNICEF is working with more than 350 partners – including major global airlines and freight providers – to step up efforts to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to over 92 low and lower middle-income countries around the world as soon as vaccines become available.
To kickstart preparations, UNICEF together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), briefed major global airlines last week on the expected capacity requirements and discussed ways to transport close to 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021, according to a statement released by UNICEF.
This is in addition to the 1 billion syringes that need to be transported by sea-freight, the statement read.
This virtual meeting comes close on the heels of the first-ever logistics event held virtually by UNICEF to discuss the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines.
The landmark discussion brought together more than 350 logistics partners, including air freight operators, shipping lines and global logistics associations.
In the coming weeks, UNICEF is also assessing existing transport capacity to identify gaps and future requirements, said the agency.
UNICEF said it was working on a “mammoth operation”, to deliver vaccines to poor countries such as Burundi, Afghanistan and Yemen as part of COVAX, a global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Since January, UNICEF has delivered more than US$190 million worth of COVID-19 supplies such as masks, gowns, oxygen concentrators and diagnostic test kits in support of countries as they respond to the pandemic.
In addition to this, last month, UNICEF began a process to stockpile more than 1 billion syringes by 2021 to guarantee initial supply and pre-position in advance of COVID-19 vaccines.