UNICEF delivers 11 million COVID-19 vaccines a day over past week as global rollout gathers pace

19th December 2021

PRESS RELEASE

UNICEF delivers 11 million COVID-19 vaccines a day over past week as global rollout gathers pace

Despite progress, UNICEF warns of ongoing inequity in access to vaccines across the world

UNICEF spokespeople are available for interview

Multimedia assets available for download here

DUBLIN, 19 December 2021 – UNICEF has delivered an average of 11 million COVID-19 vaccines a day over the past week, as the global vaccination rollout gathers pace. Over 730 million doses have now been shipped, via the COVAX facility, up from 653 million just a week ago.

Despite significant overall progress, UNICEF is warning that more support is needed for low income countries, where only 7 per cent of people have received at least one dose. In Africa, vaccine inequality has been particularly highlighted, where on average only 8 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated, in some countries less than 2 per cent, compared to over 50 per cent on other continents. On average, 3 per cent of people in low-income countries have been fully vaccinated compared to 69 per cent in high-income countries. And amid growing concerns about the spread and impact of the Omicron variant, UNICEF has said that the variant’s emergence is another stark reminder about the importance of ensuring fair and equitable vaccine access across the world.

As part of the global COVAX facility, UNICEF is aiming to deliver 800 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this year, and 3 billion by the end of 2022. However, thus far in the pandemic, vaccines supplies for the COVAX facility have been restricted, with more than 80 per cent of the world’s vaccines having gone to G20 countries, while millions of people, including healthcare workers, in low-income countries are still unprotected.

UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power said more needs to be done to ensure everyone has access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. “UNICEF is playing a critical role in tackling the pandemic, and we are pleased to see the increased momentum in vaccination deliveries. However, this is a race against time and there is an urgent need to do more. A global pandemic needs a global response. Everyone should have access to vaccines, no matter where they live. It is simply not right that some countries in the world have vaccination rates of just 7%, while the wealthiest countries have vaccinated the vast majority of their populations”.

According to UNICEF, the current vastly improved vaccine supply now means the world no longer has a global vaccine supply problem, instead it faces a vaccine equity and delivery problem. UNICEF is working with national governments to ensure deliveries arrive when countries are ready to roll them out to communities and vulnerable groups. “Our teams are supporting in-country rollouts across the world, and as vaccine doses become increasingly available in the coming weeks, it is critical that countries are prepared, resourced and able to roll them out. Bringing the pandemic under control is the absolute priority and vaccines play a critical role in that. Omicron is another stark reminder about the urgent need for equitable vaccine access – to protect us all,” said Mr Power.

Support for UNICEF’s COVID-19 campaign in Ireland, has already allowed UNICEF to deliver more than two million life-saving COVID-19 vaccine doses to healthcare workers and vulnerable people in some of the world’s least developed countries. However, earlier this week, in order to highlight how under-vaccinated some countries are, UNICEF Ireland teamed up with its Ambassadors Donncha O’Callaghan and Joe Canning to drive an admobile across Ireland, comparing the vaccination rates of countries, like Syria and Uganda, with the population of the Irish counties, cities and towns it drove through.

UNICEF Ireland is urging people and companies in Ireland to continue their support for UNICEF’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign by donating today at www.unicef.ie

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Notes to the editor

Multimedia assets available for download here

Download images from admobile tour with Donncha O’Callaghan and Joe Canning here

UNICEF Ireland’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign

UNICEF Ireland’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign offers people in Ireland an opportunity to come together in support of global vaccine equity – taking part is an act of solidarity. UNICEF is leading the largest-ever vaccine procurement and supply operation on behalf of the COVAX Facility, a global effort led by ACT-A partners Gavi, WHO and CEPI to aid equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, targeting 92 low and middle-income countries, amongst 190 members. To donate visit unicef.ie/get

About COVAX  

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Acceleratoris co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.

UNICEF was asked to join COVAX by partners WHO, Gavi The Vaccine Alliance, and CEPI in 2020, due to its expertise in procuring half the world’s vaccines for children under 5 every year. After GAVI, the WHO or countries have paid for the vaccine doses themselves, €4.48 allows UNICEF to deliver two doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the point of arrival in-country to the individual, in countries facing humanitarian crisis.

ABOUT UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.ie

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For more information, please contact:

Danny Smits, UNICEF Ireland, +353 87 1308070, danny@unicef.ie