© UNICEF/UN0423305/COVAX/Miléquêm


The COVID-19 vaccine sparks hope in a country where the pandemic’s economic toll has devastated vulnerable households

On February 26, UNICEF transport planes carrying 504,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine touched down at Abidjan International Airport, Côte d'Ivoire. The refrigerated planes had picked up the vaccines, licensed by the Serum Institute of India, in Mumbai and then stopped over at UNICEF's regional supply center in Dubai to pick up 505,000 syringes. 

The pandemic has been especially hard on the nation’s already vulnerable families. At the height of containment measures, when businesses closed, only three out of ten households had enough savings to pay for rent, food and water and electricity bills.

UNICEF supply officers Mohamadou Sy and Loukou Koffi (above at the airport in Abidjan) met the flight that delivered COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility. COVAX 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.

Top photo: Health worker Dagnoko Salimata, 39, was one of the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Côte d’Ivoire at a vaccination center in Abidjan. Africa’s first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were provided by the COVAX facility, the only global initiative that works with governments and manufacturers to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equitably distributed around the world.