Healthcare

UNICEF to lead the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to lower income countries

January 05, 2021

Global

EIU COVID-19 Health Funding Tracker

January 05, 2021

Global
Anelia Boshnakova
Analyst, The Economist Intelligence Unit

Anelia is a senior information specialist and health policy analyst in the Health Policy and Clinical Evidence team. Her areas of expertise are evidence-based medicine and health policy and systems research. Before joining the EIU, Anelia worked as a senior information specialist at Bazian, and previously at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Anelia holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Syracuse University.

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In partnership with Gavi, the WHO and PAHO, UNICEF plans to deliver vaccines to 92 countries

The mechanism was created to make COVID-19 vaccines available to low- and middle-income countries. On 31 December 2020 the approved the Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 mRNA vaccine following the emergency use listing procedure. Emergency use approval will help to expedite the usual regulatory approval processes in lower income countries, who will remain responsible for developing their own national policies on whether to use the vaccine and which populations to prioritise. However, before vaccination can start in earnest there is the enormous challenge of distributing the vaccine around the world.

This is where the will step in, working with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The partnership will develop and execute plans for the transportation of vaccines, including ensuring that cold chain storage facilities are in place in 92 countries. By the end of 2021 UNICEF aims to procure and install 70,000 cold-chain fridges for COVID-19 vaccines that need to be stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. The estimated funding required for this operation is US$ 133m, not including the estimated transportation costs (via commercial airlines) of the vaccines of US$ 70m.

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