Brasilia, Brazil, March 21, 2021 - Today Brazil will receive 1,022,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX Mechanism, a global effort by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
The arrival is an unprecedented initiative and marks a historic step toward an equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. This will be the largest vaccine acquisition and supply operation in global history. The delivery is part of a first phase of distribution of doses to Brazil. More vaccines are expected to arrive in the country throughout this year.
The PAHO Revolving Fund, responsible for the procurement of vaccines against COVID-19 for the countries in the Americas, via the COVAX Mechanism, sent to Brazil the 1,022,400 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine - manufactured by SK Bioscience, from South Korea. The product will land at the International Airport of Guarulhos, in the state of São Paulo, where the Coordination Centre for Storage and Distribution of Strategic Health Inputs of the Brazilian Ministry of Health is located. Then, the vaccines will be distributed according to the Brazilian Vaccination Plan.
The AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by SK Bioscience, from South Korea, is from the same platform (type) as the one manufactured on Brazilian soil by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz). It is a safe and quality product, having received approval for emergency use from both WHO and the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA).
“This is a big step toward saving lives, stopping the spread of COVID-19, and getting back to the new normal. We will continue to work day and night, together with Brazil's health authorities and partners, to make more vaccines available and to help in all things related to vaccination and strengthening public health measures, so that we all can fight COVID-19 together. If everyone does their part, we will come out of this pandemic sooner and stronger”, says Socorro Gross, PAHO and WHO Representative in Brazil.
"The arrival of this first batch of vaccines, and the ones that will be delivered throughout the year, is a hope for everyone, including children and adolescents. Although they are not the most directly affected by COVID-19, and cannot yet be vaccinated, they greatly suffer from the consequences of the crisis caused by the pandemic, with profound impacts on education, mental health, protection from violence, and food security. Expanding adult vaccination is an important step towards controlling the pandemic and beginning to reimagine a better, safer and healthier future for everyone, especially children, adolescents and their families," says Florence Bauer, UNICEF Representative in Brazil.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the UN System in Brazil has worked with government, businesses, and the civil society to identify and assist the needs of the population in responding to the health crisis and its socio-economic effects.
The first case of COVID-19 in the Brazilian territory was reported in February 2020. Since then, the country has confirmed 11,950,459 cases and 292,752 deaths as a result of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes this disease, according to data from the Brazilian Ministry of Health as of March 20, 2021.
COVAX aims to provide vaccines to between 10-20% of each participating country's population by 2021. Until the vaccines reach a wider population, preventive measures will remain the basis of the pandemic response. For public health authorities, this means continuing diagnostic testing, contact tracing, isolation, assisted quarantine, and quality care. For individuals, it means avoiding crowds, continuing physical distancing, sanitizing hands, wearing masks, and keeping environments ventilated.
COVAX, vaccine's pillar for the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by CEPI; Gavi; and WHO - working 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 PAHO Revolving Fund is the recognized procurement agent for the COVAX mechanism for countries in the Americas region.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) works with the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their populations. Founded in 1902, it is the world's oldest international public health organization. It serves as the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Americas and is the specialized health agency of the inter-American system.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in the world's toughest places to reach the most disadvantaged children. In 190 countries and territories, UNICEF works for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for all. Learn more at unicef.org.br. Follow UNICEF on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.