Buenos Aires, 18 April 2021 (PAHO/WHO-UNICEF) – Argentina today received its second shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from the Oxford-AstraZeneca laboratory, acquired through the COVAX Facility. The Chief of country’s Cabinet of Ministers, Santiago Cafiero, along with Minister of Health Carla Vizzotti, UNICEF representative in Argentina Luisa Brumana, and Enrique Pérez-Gutiérrez, PAHO/WHO representative in Argentina were present at the delivery.
This shipment is in addition to the 218,000 doses Argentina received at the end of March, part of a first stage of COVAX allocations. Argentina is expected to receive 1.9 million doses in the first half of the year.
The COVAX Facility is a global fund to help countries develop and procure vaccines, headed by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the World Health Organization (WHO). The purpose of the coalition is to ensure the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.
"We welcome this new arrival of vaccines, so desperately needed by the Argentine people," said Brumana, the UNICEF representative in Argentina, noting that this second shipment of COVAX vaccines comes just days before Vaccination Week in the Americas 2021 (24 to 30 April), a week when the countries in the Region will highlight the value of all vaccines in fighting and eradicating diseases.
“These new vaccines being supplied through COVAX allow us to continue taking steps to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations. Equity has always been part of the message of Vaccination Week in the Americas, a key PAHO initiative aimed at preventing numerous diseases and protecting us as a community," said Pérez-Gutiérrez, PAHO/WHO Representative in Argentina.
Under the slogan "Vaccines bring us closer. #GetVax," Vaccination Week in the Americas is a PAHO/WHO initiative that seeks to increase equity and access to vaccinations in all of the Region's countries. As a result of this initiative, nearly one billion people have been vaccinated and six preventable diseases eliminated over the last 19 years. This year the campaign focuses on the importance of routine vaccination, maintaining vaccination schedules, and promoting influenza immunization in risk groups such as children and pregnant women.
In Argentina, vaccines on the national vaccination schedule are part of one of the most successful health interventions in recent decades, and have saved millions of lives. Immunization initiatives have eradicated smallpox and reduced polio by 99%, while reducing disease, disability, and death from diphtheria, tetanus, measles, whooping cough, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and meningococcal meningitis. There has also been a reduction in Hepatitis A and B.
The COVAX Facility is an unprecedented global effort to ensure that any vaccine that is safe and effective reaches all countries in the world with equitable access, as quickly as possible, in order to reduce the pandemic’s impact on people's lives and on economies. The goal for 2021 is to provide vaccines for at least 20% of the population of countries that are part of this joint fund. In this first stage, countries will receive the doses needed to vaccinate between 2.2% and 2.6% of their populations. COVAX, the vaccine component of the ACT Accelerator, is co-led by CEPI, GAVI, and WHO, working in partnership with UNICEF, as well as with the World Bank, civil society organizations, manufacturers, and others.
The European Union, its Member States, and the European Investment Bank have committed more than 2.25 billion euros to the COVAX operation. Its contribution makes the European Union the largest donor. The EU has provided COVAX with immediate financial support and with leverage to negotiate advance purchase agreements with pharmaceutical companies.
UNICEF works in the world’s toughest-to-reach places, reaching the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, UNICEF does whatever it takes to help children survive, thrive, and fulfill their potential, and to build a better world for everyone. “We never stop.” For more information on UNICEF and its work on behalf of children, visit www.unicef.org. Follow UNICEF Argentina on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok.
The Pan American Health Organization is the specialized international public health agency for the Americas. It serves as WHO's Regional Office for the Americas, and is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American System. In the Americas, the COVAX Facility is being implemented through PAHO's Revolving Fund for Vaccine Procurement, a joint regional mechanism for vaccine procurement. For more than 40 years, the Revolving Fund has addressed the demand for and use of national resources for procuring, at the lowest price, high-quality vaccines and other related products for the countries. In addition, countries in the Region are receiving guidance from PAHO in planning for the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines.
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