UNICEF to stockpile 520 million syringes in 2020 for future Covid-19 vaccine

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 20, 2020

Anticipates delivering over 1 billion syringes to support Covid-19 vaccination efforts by 2021

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) agency said on Monday that it plans to stockpile 520 million syringes by the end of 2020.

UNICEF will further map out global distribution and storage plans for a future Covid-19 vaccine.

UNICEF stated that it has begun laying the groundwork for the rapid, safe, and efficient delivery of the eventual vaccine by purchasing and pre-positioning syringes and other necessary equipment.

Also read: Covid-19 pandemic can increase malnutrition in Indian children by 10-20%: UNICEF Nutrition Chief

The multilateral agency noted that to begin preparations, UNICEF aims to stockpile 520 million syringes in its warehouses by 2020, part of a larger plan of one billion syringes by 2021.

The organisation believes that this will guarantee initial supply and help ensure that syringes arrive in countries before the Covid-19 vaccines.

UNICEF anticipates delivering over one billion syringes to support Covid-19 vaccination efforts by 2021.

Furthermore, UNICEF will secure 620 million syringes for other vaccination programs against other diseases, such as measles, typhoid, and more.

Speaking on the efforts, Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, said in a statement: “Vaccinating the world against Covid-19 will be one of the largest mass undertakings in human history, and we will need to move as quickly as the vaccines can be produced.”

“In order to move fast later, we must move fast now. By the end of the year, we will already have over half a billion syringes pre-positioned where they can be deployed quickly and cost-effectively. That’s enough syringes to wrap around the world one and a half times,” she added.

The UNICEF mentioned that Gavi, the vaccine alliance, will reimburse UNICEF for the procurement of the syringes and safety boxes. This shall then be used for the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (Covax Facility) and for other Gavi-funded immunisation programs, if necessary.

Also read: UNICEF to lead global procurement, supply of Covid vaccines

Besides syringes, UNICEF is also buying five million safety boxes so that used syringes and needles can be disposed of in a safe manner by personnel at health facilities. This will help in the prevention of needle stick injuries and blood-borne diseases.

Accordingly, UNICEF is “bundling” the syringes with safety boxes to ensure enough safety boxes are available to go along with the syringes. Each safety box will carry 100 syringes.

Injection equipment such as syringes and safety boxes have a shelf life of five years.

“We are doing everything we can to deliver these essential supplies efficiently, effectively and at the right temperature, as we already do so well all over the world,” Fore said.

Published on October 20, 2020

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