UNICEF, Serum Institute of India enter into long term supply for COVID-19 vaccines

The UN agency for children has informed that it will have access to up to 1.1 billion doses of vaccines for around 100 countries.

SII and UNICEF enter into agreement
SII and UNICEF enter into agreement

The UNICEF and Serum Institute of India has entered into a long-term supply agreement for Novavax and AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines. The UN agency for children has informed that it will have access to up to 1.1 billion doses of vaccines for around 100 countries.

India is one of the biggest drugmakers in the world and an increasing number of nations have already approached the authorities for procuring the Coronavirus vaccines. Covishield of Oxford-AstraZeneca is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and Novavax is produced by US-based Novavax Inc.

The Executive Director of the United Nations International Children Education Fund, Henrietta Fore announced the conclusion of a long-term supply agreement with India’s Serum Institute for Coronavirus vaccines, to access the two vaccine products through technology transfer from NOVAVAX and AstraZeneca.

UNICEF to have access to up to 1.1 billion doses of vaccines:

The Executive Director of UNICEF informed that along with its procurement partners including the Pan American Health Organisation- PAHO, UNICEF will have the access to up to 1.1 billion doses of vaccines for around 100 nations, for approx. USD 3 a dose for low and lower-middle-income countries.

She added that this is great for COVAX donors along with a strong demonstration of one of the fundamental principles of COVAX- that by bringing our resources together we can negotiate in bulk for the best possible deals.

UNICEF also looks forward to working with the Serum Institute of India for distributing these vaccines to the countries, subject to approval by the World Health Organisation.

UN-led COVAX initiative:

Key workers and other vulnerable individuals in 145 nations will be receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the first half of 2021, under the joint United Nations-led COVAX initiative for fair access to the Covid-19 vaccines.

UNICEF, which plays a significant role in the immunization campaign worldwide has described COVAX as the largest vaccine supply and procurement operation ever mounted.

Under COVAX, the governments will be supported by the country offices of UNICEF as the governments will move forward to ensure that they are ready to receive the coronavirus vaccines that require ultra-cold storage.

This will also include ensuring that the health workers have been fully trained in storing and handling the vaccines. Many of these doses will also go to the health workers in the urban areas who have been at a higher risk of exposure to the virus.

COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered to countries globally:

Around 1.2 million doses, out of an agreed total of 40 million, of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, will be delivered to the 18 countries in the first quarter of the year.

An additional 336 million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are to be lined up for dispatch to the countries that signed up for the COVAX scheme, from Zimbabwe to Afghanistan.

The total number of doses will be covering, on average, 3.3% of the population of the nations benefitting from the scheme.

With this, the most vulnerable citizens- such as frontline health workers will be protected.

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