Covid-19: UNICEF begins shipping syringes for global vaccine deployment

The UN agency thus sent Tuesday by air freight to the Maldives 100,000 syringes as well as 1,000 safety boxes in which they can be discarded once used.

Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, and São Tomé-et-Príncipe, Central Africa, are also among the destinations of the first shipments of syringes shipped from the humanitarian warehouse in theUNICEF in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. More countries will receive imminent deliveries of syringes for Covid-19 vaccines.

Over the next few weeks, the Fund will ship more than 14.5 million 0.5ml and 0.3ml auto-disable syringes to more than 30 countries. While the 0.5 ml syringes are intended for use with the Serum Institute of India / AstraZeneca vaccine, the 0.3 ml syringes are intended for use with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“In this global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, syringes are as vital as the vaccine itself,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement. “It is essential to have a sufficient supply of syringes already in place in each country before the vaccine arrives so that it can be administered safely. This would allow the vaccination to start immediately and help turn the tide on this terrible virus, ”she added.

The countries that will receive syringes under this first tranche are among those included in the priorities of COVAX – the international mechanism for the equitable distribution of vaccines against Covid-19. These beneficiary countries have asked UNICEF to provide them with syringes. These shipments will support the national vaccine deployment as part of COVAX’s goal of providing vaccines to all participating countries.

The 0.5ml syringes are shipped from the UNICEF humanitarian warehouse in Dubai, while the 0.3ml and 2ml syringes will be shipped directly from a manufacturer in Spain. Shipments will also include safety boxes for the safe disposal of syringes.

Both syringes are of the self-locking type, which means that they cannot be reused after a single dose of vaccine has been administered. This reduces the risk of infection with blood-borne diseases as a result of reusing the syringe.

Up to one billion syringes provided by UNICEF

In total, UNICEF will provide up to one billion syringes and 10 million safety boxes to countries in 2021 to ensure they are ready for Covid-19 vaccinations. In order to meet the demand for these vital supplies, the UN agency has created a stock of nearly half a billion syringes in its warehouses in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Dubai for the larger deployment of vaccines in 82 low and middle income countries.

UNICEF works with airlines, logistics operators and freight forwarders to ensure that syringes are treated as priority cargo, whether they are shipped directly from a manufacturer or from their warehouses to the country’s point of entry. of destination. Although the first deliveries will be airlifted, most syringes and safety boxes will be transported by sea due to the large amount of space they take up as cargo.

The Fund set a goal of making two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine available for delivery in 2021. Even before the onset of the pandemic, UNICEF was already the world’s largest buyer of vaccines, ordering more of two billion vaccines per year to reach almost half of the children under 5 in the world. In addition, the UN agency purchases and supplies approximately 600 to 800 million syringes annually for regular immunization programs.

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