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UNICEF working with airlines, freight providers to move Covid vaccines

November 24, 2020: UNICEF on Monday announced that it is working with major global airlines and freight providers to step up efforts to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to over 92 countries around the world as soon as vaccines become available.

The procurement, delivery and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is anticipated to be the largest and fastest such operation ever undertaken.
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The procurement, delivery and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is anticipated to be the largest and fastest such operation ever undertaken.

November 24, 2020: UNICEF on Monday announced that it is working with major global airlines and freight providers to step up efforts to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to over 92 countries around the world as soon as vaccines become available.

“As work continues to develop Covid-19 vaccines, UNICEF is stepping up efforts with airlines, freight operators, shipping lines and other logistics associations to deliver life-saving vaccines as quickly and safely as possible,” said Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division.

To kickstart preparations, UNICEF together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), briefed major global airlines last week on the expected capacity requirements and discussed ways to transport close to 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines in 2021. This is in addition to the 1 billion syringes that need to be transported by sea-freight.

This virtual meeting comes close on the heels of the first-ever logistics event held virtually by UNICEF to discuss the transportation of Covid-19 vaccines. The discussion brought together more than 350 logistics partners, including air freight operators, shipping lines and global logistics associations.

In the coming weeks, UNICEF is also assessing existing transport capacity to identify gaps and future requirements. The procurement, delivery and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is anticipated to be the largest and fastest such operation ever undertaken. UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and deliver vaccines from manufacturers that have agreements with the COVAX Facility. In collaboration with PAHO, UNICEF will coordinate the purchase and delivery for 92 low- and lower-middle-income economies as quickly and securely as possible.

As the largest single vaccine buyer in the world, UNICEF normally procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. This unparalleled expertise includes the coordination of thousands of shipments with various cold chain requirements, making UNICEF an expert in supply chain management of temperature-controlled products, which is especially needed during this historic undertaking. To minimise disruptions to routine immunization programmes due to the operations related to the Covid-19 vaccines and syringes, UNICEF and partners will continue to coordinate closely with logistics operators for timely delivery around the world.

Last month, UNICEF began a process to stockpile more than 1 billion syringes by 2021 to guarantee initial supply and pre-position in advance of Covid-19 vaccines.

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