The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced on Wednesday that it had started the first shipment of thousands of syringes for the global deployment of vaccines against Covid-19.
The UN agency thus sent Tuesday by air freight to the Maldives 100,000 syringes as well as 1,000 safety boxes in which they can be thrown once used.
Côte d’Ivoire and São Tomé-et-Príncipe are also among the destinations of the first shipments of syringes sent from the UNICEF humanitarian warehouse in Dubai, it said in a statement, ensuring that more countries will receive imminent deliveries of syringes for Covid-19 vaccines.
Thus, the Fund will have to ship, over the coming weeks, more than 14.5 million auto-disable syringes of 0.5 ml and 0.3 ml to more than 30 countries.
“In this global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, syringes are as vital as the vaccine itself,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in the statement.
For her, it is essential to have a sufficient supply of syringes already in place in each country before the vaccine arrives so that it can be administered safely. “This would allow the vaccination to start immediately and help turn the tide on this terrible virus,” she said.
The countries that will receive syringes under this first tranche are among those included in the priorities of COVAX, the international mechanism for the equitable distribution of vaccines against Covid-19. These beneficiary countries have asked UNICEF to provide them with syringes. These shipments will support the national vaccine deployment as part of COVAX’s goal of providing vaccines to all participating countries.
In total, UNICEF will provide up to one billion syringes and 10 million safety boxes to countries in 2021 to ensure they are ready for Covid-19 vaccinations, according to the same source.
In order to meet the demand for these vital supplies, the UN agency has created a stock of nearly half a billion syringes in its warehouses in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Dubai for the larger deployment of vaccines in 82 low and middle-income countries.