UNICEF to Lead Procurement and Supply of Future COVID-19 Vaccines

September 4, 2020

UNICEF will work with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses as well as freight, logistics and storage.

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UNICEF is spearheading efforts to procure and supply COVID-19 vaccines in what could be one of the world's largest and fastest ever vaccine distributions, as part of the global vaccine plan of the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Several COVID-19 vaccine candidates are showing promise. According to the timelines manufacturers shared with UNICEF, unprecedented quantities of vaccines could be produced by 28 manufacturers in 10 countries over the next two years to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Several COVID-19 vaccine candidates show promise: the span from development to production could be one of the fastest scientific and marketing leaps in history

The time span from development to production could be one of the fastest scientific and manufacturing leaps in history. Production will depend on the success of clinical trials, advance purchase agreements, secured funding and regulatory and registration confirmation. 

UNICEF, in collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, will be in charge of the procurement and supply of vaccine doses for 92 low- and lower-middle income countries. UNICEF will also serve as procurement coordinator for 80 higher-income countries.

Children wear face masks sewn by displaced Syrian women at a camp for internally displaced persons near the town of Maaret Misrin in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, amidst the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. © UNICEF/UNI364604/Aaref Watad/AFP

As the world's largest vaccine buyer, UNICEF procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. UNICEF will use this market shaping and procurement expertise to coordinate COVID-19 vaccine delivery for the COVAX Facility, potentially doubling its overall procurement volume in 2021 alone.

 UNICEF is leveraging its unique strengths in vaccine supply to make sure that all countries have safe, fast and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine

UNICEF is the main procurement partner of Gavi, which over the past 20 years has reached more than 760 million children with lifesaving vaccines, preventing more than 13 million deaths. Gavi is co-led by core partners UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

"This is an all-hands on deck partnership between governments, manufacturers and multilateral partners to continue the high-stakes fight against the COVID-19 pandemic," says UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. "In our collective pursuit of a vaccine, UNICEF is leveraging its unique strengths in vaccine supply to make sure that all countries have safe, fast and equitable access to the initial doses when they are available."  

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Top photo: An Airbus plane carrying nine tons of UNICEF medical supplies and personal protective equipment for frontline health workers arrived in Panama on March 7, 2020, to support UNICEF's continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The supplies were prepositioned in UNICEF's regional humanitarian warehouse and distributed to Latin American and Caribbean countries. © UNICEF/UNI346302/Amador