Friday 21 May 2021
The Overseas Aid & Development Commission has agreed an Emergency Aid Award to UNICEF UK as part of the COVAX initiative to help ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world. The donation of £85,000 will allow the equivalent number of people as the Guernsey population to receive one COVID-19 vaccine in low- and middle-income countries.
A global response is underway to support low- and middle-income countries control the spread of COVID-19 and make vaccines equitably available to each country, regardless of their ability to pay. The Commission has decided to specifically support the COVAX initiative through UNICEF as that organisation is at the forefront of making this happen.
UNICEF is the largest buyer and distributor of vaccines in the worldand has a presence in over 190 countries and territories. With its background in child immunisations, UNICEF is the only organisation present in all countries participating in COVAX and has an established global supply chain network. Its ability to work on a large scale has allowed it to negotiate better terms and reduced costs for 2 billion vaccines, which will stretch the Commission's donation even further.
UNICEF is the main organisation responsible for COVAX end-to-end supply chain engagement, which involves working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as international freight, logistics, delivery and in-country readiness for 92 low- and lower middle-income countries. To ensure swift and efficient roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, UNICEF is also supporting countries to procure vaccine related supplies such as syringes and cold chain equipment. Furthermore, UNICEF alongside the World Health Organisation (WHO) is co-leading the efforts in community engagement, to build demand and acceptance for vaccines through its expansive social mobilisation network.
Deputy Chris Blin, the President of the OA&DC, said
"I have been hugely impressed by the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations on the Island and I know many people have been grateful to receive them. But at the same time I realise that there are millions of people around the world in poorer countries who will not have the same opportunity as Guernsey residents to be vaccinated unless more affluent jurisdictions assist. Guernsey itself has been helped by the United Kingdom through the supply of vaccines and it is only right that the Island also plays its own part in this global community initiative. You only have to look at the recent devastating scenes in India to know how important this is. Although in time it may become a well-worn phrase, it still holds true that 'no one is safe until everyone is safe'. A donation based on the equivalent of a single vaccine for each member of the Guernsey population will be a fitting contribution to this.'