El Salvador receives its first COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility


San Salvador, El Salvador, 11 March 2021 (PAHO/WHO) – El Salvador today received 33,600 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).

This is a historic milestone towards the goal of ensuring the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, in what amounts the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. This delivery is part of a first tranche of doses to be received by El Salvador; more vaccines are expected to arrive successively throughout 2021.

The PAHO Revolving Fund, which is responsible for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the countries of the Americas through the COVAX Facility, sent doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by SK Bioscience of South Korea.

Dr. Franklin Hernández, the PAHO/WHO Representative in El Salvador, noted: “At PAHO, we will continue to support the countries of the Americas to increase equitable access to more vaccine doses.”

El Salvador is one of 92 countries worldwide that are receiving vaccines at no cost through the COVAX Facility and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“The delivery of these doses means El Salvador can continue with its vaccination strategy and thus protect its population from COVID-19,” said Dr. Francisco Alabi, the Salvadoran Minister of Health.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Salvadoran territory, the country has recorded 61,814 cases and 1,935 deaths as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

COVAX aims to supply vaccines for at least 20% of the population of each participating country during 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.

Until population-wide vaccination is possible, basic public health measures remain the cornerstone of pandemic response. For health authorities, this means continuing to conduct screening, contact tracing, quarantine, supported isolation, and provision of quality care. For the public, it means continuing to practice physical distancing, hand hygiene, mask-wearing, and proper ventilation, while avoiding crowds and gatherings.

COVAX is the cornerstone of the COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. It is co-led by CEPI, Gavi, and WHO, in partnership with UNICEF as a key implementing partner, as well as civil society organizations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others.

In the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Revolving Fund is the recognized procurement agent for the COVAX Facility for countries of the Region.


Nubia Carbajal