Despite the containment to curb the spread of the COVID-19, the world’s response to the virus is at a critical juncture. Nevertheless, it seems now things are starting to look better with COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out.
About 60 countries are now actively vaccinating their citizens, and the first shipment of the COVID19 vaccines under the global COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative arrived in Ghana on February 24.
Through its COVID Action Platform, the World Economic Forum is already supporting this incredible international movement. The Forum is also a member of the ACT-Accelerator (ACT-A), with the Forum being one of only four non-state members of its governing body. COVAX has one primary objective: to ensure equitable access for participating countries to COVID-19 vaccines, irrespective of their income level.
To quote UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore: “a vaccination race between nations can have no winners.”
UNICEF Takes the Lead
UNICEF is in charge of obtaining and delivering high-quality vaccines to 82 low- and lower-middle-income countries. COVAX has secured 2 billion doses for over 190 participating countries so far. The idea is that, by the end of 2021, this number will be sufficient to vaccinate priority groups. The Vaccine Alliance, Gavi, has already stated that the first doses will arrive in February.
UNICEF plays a critical role in ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines are transported and delivered to low- and lower-middle-income countries. UNICEF expects to transport up to 850 tonnes per month of COVAX vaccines in 2021. In 2021, the agency hopes to deliver 1 billion syringes and 10 million safety boxes for disposal. With a current shortage of container equipment, sea-freight will face significant challenges.
Working Together with The Logistics Industry
The World Economic Forum and UNICEF signed a charter in December 2020 alongside leading global logistics companies which are partners of the Supply Chain & Transport Industry Action Group of the Forum.
Under the Charter, they undertook collective action in support of COVAX, with the planning, preparation and prioritisation of the transport and distribution of vaccines and the provision of essential supplies for the vaccination drive.
Several signatories have come forward with concrete proposals for pro bono assistance, guided by UNICEF’s mapping of support needs. The signatories are now in talks with these companies to see how they can put their proposals into action.
The global unity, mobilization, dedication and support of the COVAX Facility is truly an incredible display of what can be achieved when governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and the United Nations work together towards a common objective. “Because “no one is safe until everyone is safe” in the race to fight COVID-19 and vaccinate the world.