Ecuador receives its first COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility

17 Mar 2021
Ecuador recibe las primeras vacunas COVID-19 a través del Mecanismo COVAX
Ecuador recibe las primeras vacunas COVID-19 a través del Mecanismo COVAX

Quito, Ecuador, 17 March 2021 (PAHO/WHO).- Ecuador today received 84,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility, a global effort involving the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

This shipment marks a historic step toward the goal of guaranteeing equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. Today’s delivery is part of the first round of doses for Ecuador, and more vaccines are expected to arrive in the country through 2021.

Another 165,000 doses are expected at the beginning of April, and subsequent shipments are expected through May for a total of 756,000 doses, according to the first-round COVAX allocations, under which all  participating countries will receive enough doses to vaccinate more than 2% of their populations. By the end of the second round, in late 2021, Ecuador is expecting a total of 7 million doses, with the goal of covering the vaccination of at least 20% of the population, according to WHO recommendations. 

The PAHO Revolving Fund, which is responsible for procuring COVID-19 vaccines for the countries of the Americas under the COVAX Facility, shipped these first 84,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which has received Emergency Use Listing (EUL) validation from WHO, and is manufactured by SK Bioscience of South Korea. The shipment arrived on 17 March at Mariscal Sucre International Airport, in Quito.

“This international solidarity effort makes our aspiration of achieving equitable access to vaccines a reality, enabling us to reduce the tragic toll of victims of this pandemic,” said Adrián Díaz, Acting Representative of PAHO in Ecuador. “It is very moving to have the feeling of being part of an unprecedented event in the history of public health, marked by a response coordinated between the scientific community, cooperation agencies, governments and civil society, which is making it possible to respond to this pandemic as never before.”

These first vaccines to arrive will be used to protect priority groups and those most at risk, such as health workers and older adults. Ecuador is one of the priority countries of the Americas to receive vaccines through the COVAX Facility.

“Thanks to vaccination, we can be hopeful again, and children and adolescents will be able to continue their comprehensive development under better conditions,” said Joaquín González-Alemán, Representative of UNICEF Ecuador. “It is crucial for these vaccines to be distributed equitably in the country, prioritizing the most vulnerable groups. We will only be safe when the most vulnerable people are vaccinated.”

“We are proud that Ecuador is receiving this first shipment of vaccines through the COVAX Facility,” said Lena Savelli, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ecuador. “Global, equitable access to the vaccine for those who run the greatest risk of contracting the disease—such as health workers, educators, and service staff—and those in situations of vulnerability—including refugees, migrants, and persons with disabilities—is the only way to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, and enable us to make a better recovery, leaving no one behind.”

Until vaccination is widespread in the population, basic public health measures will remain the cornerstone of pandemic response. For the public health authorities, this means continued diagnostic testing, contact tracing, isolation, assisted quarantine, and quality care. For individuals, it means continuing to practice social distancing, hand hygiene, use of masks, ventilation of closed spaces, and crowd avoidance.

Contacts

Mario Naranjo Noboa
Comunicaciones 
Oficina de la Coordinadora Residente 
mario.naranjo@un.org  

Estefanía Andrade
Comunicaciones OPS/OMS    
andradeest@paho.org 

Cristina Arboleda 
Comunicaciones UNICEF 
marboleda@unicef.org