UNICEF to stockpile over half a billion syringes by 2021 to prepare for COVID-19 vaccinations

October 21, 2020  –  UNICEF (New York, NY) has begun laying the groundwork for the rapid, safe and efficient delivery of the eventual COVID-19 vaccine by purchasing and pre-positioning syringes and other necessary equipment.

This year, UNICEF will stockpile 520 million syringes in its warehouses, part of a larger plan of 1 billion syringes by 2021, to guarantee initial supply and help ensure that syringes arrive in countries before the COVID-19 vaccines.

During 2021, assuming there are enough doses of COVID-19 vaccines, UNICEF says it anticipates delivering over 1 billion syringes to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts on top of the 620 million syringes that UNICEF will purchase for other vaccination programs against other diseases.

UNICEF is partnering with Gavi (Le Grand-Saconnex, Geneva), which will reimburse UNICEF for the procurement of the syringes and safety boxes that will be used for the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX Facility) and other Gavi-funded immunization programs, if necessary.

Besides syringes, UNICEF is also buying 5 million safety boxes so that used syringes and needles can be disposed in a safe manner at healthcare facilities. Every safety box carries 100 syringes. UNICEF is “bundling” the syringes with safety boxes to ensure enough safety boxes are available to go along with the syringes.

To make sure that vaccines are transported and stored at the right temperature, UNICEF, along with the WHO, is mapping out existing cold chain equipment and storage capacity – in both the private and public sectors – and preparing necessary guidance for countries to receive vaccines.

Gavi, “the Vaccine Alliance,” is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunize over 822 million children and prevented more than 14 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries.

UNICEF did not specify from where it is sourcing the equipment.

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