As part of the Global COVAX Facility, UNICEF will lead the purchasing and delivery of vaccines to some of the world’s most vulnerable and remote countries.
We are working to ensure that more than 180 countries will have equitable access to two billion doses of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2021. Our work protecting vulnerable children and families around the world does will not stop during a pandemic.
Below are answers to some of the most common questions you might have about a potential COVID-19 vaccine (or vaccines), and how UNICEF is helping.
When will a COVID-19 vaccine be ready?
The COVID-19 vaccine development process has been sped up due to the huge amount of funding and resources dedicated towards it. But before a vaccine is distributed, it must undergo strict regulatory approvals by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and each country to ensure it is safe and effective.
On 31 December 2020, WHO listed the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for emergency use, making it the first to receive emergency validation from WHO since the outbreak began a year earlier.
Earlier in December, the UK was the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for mass vaccination of high-risk groups, such as health care workers. Approved by Britain’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, the vaccine offers up to 95 per cent protection against COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines need to be approved in each country it will be rolled out in, and once approved it’s critical that the vaccine is made accessible to those that need it most.
The current goal is to make two billion doses of the vaccine available by the end of 2021 and distribute them globally. That’s where UNICEF and its partners come in.
You might have heard of the COVAX Facility
which has been set up specifically to ensure equitable access to a successful vaccine. It is the only global effort of its kind and the only chance that many low-income and hard to reach countries have of getting these vaccines.
COVAX is led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and CEPI – with UNICEF working closely with manufacturers and partners on the purchasing of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as shipping, logistics and storage.