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UNICEF to ship 2bn vaccines for underprivileged nations

International Desk || shiningbd

Published: 18:33, 23 November 2020   Update: 21:48, 23 November 2020
UNICEF to ship 2bn vaccines for underprivileged nations

Graphics: Shiningbd

The UN children’s agency - UNICEF on Monday said that it intends to ship 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries in 2021 in what it’s touting as a “mammoth operation.”
The agency claimed that it is working with more than 350 airline and freight carriers to distribute vaccines and syringes to countries like Burundi, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

This move is part of COVAX - a global vaccine allocation program co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO).

"This invaluable collaboration will go a long way to ensure that enough transport capacity is in place for this historic and mammoth operation," Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF's Supply Division, said in a statement.

The COVAX program, co-led by GAVI, WHO, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations intends to urge governments to not hoard COVID-19 vaccines, and to vaccinate people who remain at the highest risk.

At the G20 summit over the weekend, leaders from the top 20 global economies pledged to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are distributed fairly, so that poor countries are not left out.

According to WHO, the access to vaccines was unequal even before the pandemic hit. Over 20 million babies did not receive vaccines capable of saving them from serious illnesses, disability, and death.

UNICEF is the world’s largest single vaccine buyer. On behalf of 100 countries, the agency procures 2 billion doses of vaccines annually.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of 1.3 million people across the globe so far, with numbers rising fiercely in almost all countries and regions.