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Why vaccine equity matters; no one is safe until we are all safe

UNICEF's global supply chain network can ensure the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people

Join businesses around the world in supporting the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

 
For Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out the Health Service Executive has the resource and expertise for a national programme. About 14 million doses of vaccines are on order for Ireland in 2021 and 2022, more than enough to vaccinate the entire population.  
 
This is not the case for low and middle-income countries that depend on outside support to achieve even routine national immunisation programmes.  
 
For vulnerable populations, Covid-19 has added yet another layer of vulnerability, on top of poverty, conflict, displacement, challenges in accessing basic services and much more. 
 

Partners for equity 

In the face of an unprecedented crisis, UNICEF and partners are stepping up to do what they do best - protecting every child now, and protecting their futures, through an initiative called COVAX. UNICEF will make two billion vaccine doses, 245 million therapeutics and 500 million tests available for delivery in low and middle-income countries in a safe and equitable way, to restart services and give children the best start.  
 
I am proud to be part of the team driving this forward and spearheading the procurement of two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility in 2021
 
Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF Supply Division says, "UNICEF has a very important role in supporting the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine through the COVAX Facility. Along with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), we have been entrusted with leading the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines for 92 low and lower middle-income countries. I am proud to be part of the team driving this forward and spearheading the procurement of two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility in 2021, together with our partners Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO, CEPI and PAHO. We have never been confronted with such urgency on a global scale and it will require all-hands-on-deck across UNICEF and our partners."  
 
UNICEF’s distinctive role in driving the childhood immunisation agenda for the past three decades, our global scope and expertise in procurement and extensive country presence, make us the only organisation in the world that can deliver at scale. 
UNICEF-supported community health workers traversing difficult terrain to reach communities in the Gorkha district of Nepal.

Impact on children 

We know that children are directly affected by Covid-19 when schools are closed, families cannot work or are unwell, and social and health facilities cannot function normally. UNICEF’s role in tackling Covid-19 is the best investment the humanitarian and development organisation can make to help safeguard children’s futures. 
 

How are children at risk? 

  • 80 million children under the age of one are at risk from diphtheria, measles and polio due to Covid-19 disruptions in routine vaccinations
  • An additional 6,000 children could die every day from preventable causes
  • 10 per cent more school-aged children could enter a learning poverty – the inability to read simple text by the age of 10 years
  • Discontinuation of critical health services such as HIV, reproductive health and maternal care will have a major impact on women and girls’ health and safety
  • Significant increase in violence against women and girls will be exacerbated by mobility restrictions (15 million cases for every three months of lockdown). 
Fathers, mothers, caregivers and pregnant women, brave the COVID-19 lockdown to immunize their children in Uganda.
According to Gian Gandhi, COVAX coordinator for UNICEF, there is also the long-term picture to consider. “There are also many secondary consequences if developing nations are left unprotected. If COVAX can’t vaccinate front-line health care workers in developing nations, it could disrupt long-standing vaccination programmes, leading to a resurgence of diseases like measles and polio, which the world is close to eradicating,” says Gandhi. “No child and no individual is safe until everyone is safe.”
 

Business delivers history 

With support from the business sector, UNICEF will deliver two billion Covid-19 vaccines for health workers and the most high-risk people on our planet. From buying and transporting supplies to administering the vaccine, your company can help deliver history.  
Offloading of bivalent oral polio vaccine.
Financial support from your business will ensure: 
  • Vaccines get to the most remote places in the world 
  • Vaccines are safely stored using cold chain equipment 
  • Health workers are protected and trained to vaccinate their communities. 
Dr. Frances Vulivuili, health and nutrition specialist, UNICEF Pacific, prepares cold boxes for measles vaccination teams
Join businesses around the world in supporting the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. 
 
Businesses can learn more about how to support this historic effort by contacting Corporate Partnerships manager Owen Buckley at owen@unicef.ie.