The COVAX initiative shipped 504,000 doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, authorized by the Serum Institute of India, India, and 505,000 syringes to Abidjan on February 26, 2021. This is the second batch that has been shipped and delivered to Africa by the COVAX Facility in an unprecedented effort to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.
The doses of vaccine were received at Abidjan international airport by the Ivorian Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, Dr Eugène Aka Aouélé, accompanied by members of the COVAX Facility – the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), the Coalition for Innovations in Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – in addition to the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System for development (UNDS) in Côte d’Ivoire and the ambassadors of European Union countries, whose funding has made it possible to manufacture, transport and distribute the vaccine. The vaccines transported by UNICEF originated in India (Mumbai) and were transported via Dubai where a shipment of syringes from a Gavi-funded stockpile was collected from the UNICEF regional supply center. UNICEF works to monitor vaccines throughout the supply chain, from the factory gate to the port of entry in each country.
After Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire is now the second African country to receive doses of COVID-19 vaccine delivered through the COVAX Facility. This is a historic step towards equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world as part of the largest vaccine purchase and supply operation ever.
“Côte d’Ivoire is happy and proud to be the second African country after Ghana to receive vaccines provided through the COVAX Facility. This is an important step in our common fight against the common enemy that is COVID-19. The pandemic has taken its toll around the world and our country is no exception. More than 32,000 people living in Côte d’Ivoire have been infected with the disease and 188 have died. It’s a tragedy. I want to honor their memory. The vaccines that we have received today will allow us to contain the pandemic and improve the health of our population ”, declared the Ivorian Minister of Health and Public Hygiene.
COVAX is the vaccine pillar of the COVID-19 Tool Access Accelerator (ACT) and is jointly led by Gavi, WHO, CEPI and UNICEF, which leads vaccine procurement and delivery operations .
“This is an important moment for Côte d’Ivoire, the African continent and COVAX, which brings us all closer to our common goal of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Gavi CEO Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao. “Our work on global deployment has only just begun, but Gavi is proud to see COVAX and AMC [Advance Market Commitment] become a reality with this first wave of childbirth that will protect the most vulnerable, including health workers who fight on the front lines against this pandemic.
“Today is an important first step towards realizing our shared vision of vaccine equity, but it is only the beginning. We are proud that Côte d’Ivoire is among the first countries in Africa to receive the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine through the COVAX Facility. The global pandemic has already caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and disrupted the lives of billions of people. In addition to reducing the tragic death toll and bringing the pandemic under control, the vaccine will also prevent $ 375 billion in losses to the global economy. Global and equitable access to a vaccine, which will protect health workers and those most at risk of contracting the disease in particular, is the only way to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on public health and the economy ” , said WHO Representative in Côte d’Ivoire, Dr Jean-Marie Vianney Yameogo.
“Vaccines save lives. As health workers and other frontline staff are vaccinated, we will see a gradual return to normality, including better access to health, education and protection services for all, and in particular for kids. UNICEF and partners are working together to help countries prepare for the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine and the launch of the vaccination campaign. In the spirit of universal health coverage, we must leave no one behind, ”said Marc Vincent, UNICEF Representative in Côte d’Ivoire.
“As the first funder of the COVAX Facility with a contribution of 2.3 billion euros,“ Team Europe ”(the European Union, its Member States and the European Investment Bank) is proud to have facilitated the access of Ivorian citizens to the first COVID-19 vaccines. It is a tangible sign of solidarity, which will gradually be extended to other African countries, ”said European Union Ambassador Jobst von Kirchmann.