The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines purchased through the COVAX, an international partnership led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, arrived in Accra yesterday morning.
Alongside the 600,000 vaccine doses Ghana, received a shipment of auto-disable syringes to enable health workers to begin administering the vaccines immediately. Auto-disable syringes are recommended by the WHO for use in immunisation programmes because they prevent repeat use, reducing the risk of people contracting infection due to contaminated needles.
UNICEF will procure and distribute more than 1 billion syringes to countries receiving vaccine supplies through COVAX. In July 2020, MedAccess announced $50 million support for UNICEF’s efforts to accelerate access to vital COVID-19 supplies. Alongside syringes, UNICEF has used MedAccess’ finance to secure diagnostic tests, oxygen and medical equipment on behalf of low- and middle-income countries.
“The first shipment of COVAX-supported COVID-19 vaccines to Africa is cause for huge optimism,” said Michael Anderson, CEO of MedAccess. “The speed at which the vaccines have been created, manufactured and distributed is testament to unprecedented global innovation and collaboration. I am proud that MedAccess has played its part, using innovative finance to enable large scale procurement of these syringes alongside other critical COVID-19 medical supplies.”
The COVAX Facility is a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. It aims to secure enough doses to enable countries to immunise at least 20% of their populations.
“I am delighted that MedAccess has played such a pivotal role in supporting the first deliveries of COVID vaccines supplied through the COVAX programme,” said Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of CDC Group. “These deliveries represent a key milestone in the global fight to suppress the pandemic.”
COVAX has built a diverse portfolio of vaccines suitable for a range of settings and populations, and is on track to meet its goal of delivering at least 2 billion doses of vaccine to participating countries around the globe in 2021, including at least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses to the 92 lower-income Facility participants supported by the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment.
Robert Matthews, head of the Medical Devices Unit in UNICEF Supply Division, shares three things you may not know about syringes.