Updates from the field #41: UN teams deliver vaccines worldwide
02 June 2021
Through the COVAX Facility, UN teams across the globe are working effortlessly to ensure vaccine equity worldwide.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina received three additional shipments of COVAX-backed vaccines, totaling 100, 620 doses, with 80 per cent of the vaccines landing in May alone. These complement other vaccines the country is receiving from separate agreements, supporting its national vaccination campaign. As you know, the COVAX Facility is backed by WHO, UNICEF and partners to deliver vaccines for all. In response to the pandemic, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Ingrid Macdonald, prepared the COVID-19 Socio-Economic Response and Recovery offer for authorities, based on over 30 assessments of the impacts on key groups and crucial economic sectors. The nearly US$84 million programme is also supporting health systems, with the UN team delivering over 11 million pieces of life-saving medical equipment, testing kits and necessary supplies. Responding to the identified challenges in the education system, the UN team launched a joint programme to reimagine education for marginalized children during and post pandemic. This is funded by the Secretary-General’s “Recover Better Together Fund,” with UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO and UNV, national and local authorities. It focuses on tailored approaches for the situation of at-risk girls and boys, also addressing learning losses, preventing school dropout and boosting skills for youth to prepare them for the labour market.
Georgia also received its second shipment of over 43,000 COVID-19 vaccines, about half of the total expected through the COVAX Facility. UNICEF Georgia has been supporting authorities to procure vaccines for national distribution. Authorities expect to vaccinate 60 per cent of the 3.7 million population by the end of the year. The UN team has backed the national emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis, with technical advice on public health, risk communication, education and supporting social welfare for the most vulnerable. UN entities procured and delivered essential supplies including hospital equipment, PPE, test kits, laboratory consumables, computers, videoconferencing equipment and vital medical supplies. The UN team also repurposed over US$20million to fight the outbreak and address the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. Also, through the Secretary-General’s “Recover Better Together Fund,” we supported health assistance for 26,000 pregnant women, 26,000 newborns, over 41,000 school-aged children, 1200 health workers and reached another 10,000 people with essential services. UNHCR provided emergency cash assistance to over 1000 asylum seekers and persons granted international protection. More than 2,700 of the most vulnerable IDPs in eastern Georgia received cash assistance, food and hygiene packages.
The COVAX facility also delivered an additional 1.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Egypt yesterday, an addition to the over 850,000 doses received in March. This new delivery is critical as the country is facing a third wave of COVID-19 cases. The UN team has supported authorities to expand the centers all over Egypt to facilitate and accelerate vaccination. Early this month, supported by the World Health Organization, the country’s largest vaccination center opened in Cairo vaccinating 10,000 people per day, for all people over 18 years of age, with priority given to healthcare workers and other at-risk groups. UNICEF is providing cold storage facilities and logistics support.
Kosovo* received today a second batch of 38,400 COVID-19 vaccines, procured and delivered through UNICEF. Authorities, members of the UN team and the international community, including the European Union, welcomed this arrival at the airport in the capital Pristina. This is an addition to the initial 24,000 doses received late March, which enabled the national vaccination plan to kick off, focusing on health care workers and older adults first. Additional COVAX-backed vaccines are expected to arrive within the next few weeks.
*All references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).
In Libya, authorities are speeding up the national vaccination programme after the second shipment of nearly 120,000 doses of the COVAX-backed vaccines arrived in Libya. This second batch will be used for priority groups including healthcare workers, people above the age of 75, followed by those between 65 and 75 and those who have comorbidities. It will also be administered to people that have already received the first dose. According to the national plan, eligible migrants will also benefit from the vaccines. The UN team is working closely with national authorities to prepare, receive and dispatch all COVID-19 vaccines. UNICEF supplied over 70 refrigerators to distribute across more than 40 municipalities boosting the cold chain capacities. UNICEF is also providing isolation centers and triage facilities with personal protective equipment and oxygen concentrators. For its part, WHO is providing technical advice to health authorities to strengthen disease surveillance, train health care workers, also providing medicines, equipment, and laboratory supplies.
To boost the country’s response, Malawi received its first COVAX-backed 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines early in March. This enabled Malawi to be among the first countries in Africa to rollout COVID-19 vaccinations, starting 11 March. Today, more than 335,000 people in Malawi, including those most-at-risk such as health workers and the elderly, have received the vaccine. The UN has taken note of Malawi Government’s action to incinerate nearly 20,000 expired COVID-19 vaccine doses. The UN also takes note that that these vaccines were not part of the COVAX-backed doses and does not anticipate a similar situation to happen with these COVAX-backed vaccines. The Resident Coordinator, WHO and the entire UN team are closely engaging with authorities on stock status, logistics and closely monitoring expiration dates, based on the basis of the latest WHO guidance.
Moldova received 100,000 doses of COVAX-backed vaccines, under the guidance of UNICEF and WHO. This has enabled the country to start its third phase of the national vaccination scheme, which means that all eligible population can get a vaccine, including through online registration. As of today, over 300.000 people have received at least one dose.
Montenegro received its second batch of 24,000 doses of vaccines, part of a total of 48,000 doses that Montenegro will receive through COVAX facility. Around 20 per cent of the population have received their first dose and nearly 6 per cent of the population received the second dose. The UN team in Montenegro continues to support the country in addressing the health crisis, including through training, technical support, delivering medical equipment and tailoring protection for the most vulnerable groups, with food assistance, hygiene kits. The team is also partnering to fight the misinformation battle, through the Secretary-General’s Verified campaign.