Peru is among the first countries in the Americas to receive COVAX vaccines

11 Mar 2021

Lima, 11 March 2021 – Peru today received 117,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility, a joint global effort between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance), the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The vaccines were received at Lima International Airport by the President of the Republic of Peru, Francisco Sagasti, alongside Igor Garafulic, the United Nations Representative in Peru; Carlos Garzón, the PAHO/WHO Representative; and Ana de Mendoza, the UNICEF Representative.

The Peruvian head of state thanked the international cooperation for its commitment, and stressed: “The most important thing I want to highlight is that we have received 117,000 doses obtained through the COVAX Facility led by WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, CEPI, and a group of international organizations. This it is a multilateral effort that has allowed many countries that would not have had access to the vaccine otherwise to do so through solidarity and international cooperation”.

Carlos Garzón, the PAHO/WHO Representative, noted that, by participating in the COVAX Facility, Peru is supporting equitable access, monitoring the initiative and working towards a more egalitarian world. “The vaccine procurement process will take a few months, but the important thing is that the vaccines managed by the Facility seek to reduce the mortality of vulnerable populations and health workers,” said Garzón.

Igor Garafulic noted that “under the leadership of WHO and UNICEF, the United Nations System and its international partners have established the COVAX Facility to ensure that all countries have access to vaccines, regardless of their economic capacity. We continue to work with the Government to support its vaccination plan”.

Ana de Mendoza, the UNICEF Representative, remarked that “the arrival of these vaccines today and others in recent weeks brings hope that we can put an end to this crisis. The longer the pandemic lasts, the greater its impact on those most vulnerable. Through COVAX, Peru is taking a step to ensure that no one is left behind and to build a better future for children, adolescents, and their families”.

Later, the vaccines were transported to the National Stockpile of Strategic Resources in Health (CENARES), in the presence of Dr. Óscar Ugarte, the Minister of Health, and Dr. Percy Minaya, the Deputy Minister for Public Health.

Peru thus becomes the second country in the Region to receive vaccines through the COVAX Facility, which is co-led by CEPI, Gavi, and WHO, in partnership with UNICEF, the PAHO Revolving Fund, civil society organizations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and the European Union.

This first delivery is part of the total vaccine quota assigned and acquired by Peru through the COVAX Facility. COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, an innovative global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.  

To help COVID-19 vaccines reach every corner of the country, the United Nations System has helped the Government of Peru strengthen its cold chain to store them safely. Peru has two ultra-low-temperature freezers with a 200,000-dose capacity, donated by PAHO/WHO, and 1,100 solar freezers, acquired through UNICEF, which are ideal for remote communities. In the coming months, more than 10,000 additional cold chain units, purchased through UNICEF, will be delivered to the country.

COVAX aims to supply vaccines for at least 20% of the population of each participating country during the year 2021. In this first round of vaccine allocation, all countries participating in COVAX will receive enough doses to vaccinate 2.2-2.6% of their populations. The only exceptions are the small island developing states, which, due to their size, will receive enough doses for 16-20% of their populations, considering the high logistical cost of delivering small quantities of vaccines.

COVAX has selected a diverse portfolio of vaccines suitable for a number of settings and populations, and is on track to meet its goal of supplying at least two billion doses of vaccines to participating countries around the world in 2021, including at least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses to the 92 low-income COVAX Facility participants supported by the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).