As the world awaits for the COVID-19 vaccine, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday said it will stockpile 520 million syringes in its warehouses to guarantee initial supply and help ensure that syringes arrive in countries before the COVID-19 vaccines.
“Vaccinating the world against COVID-19 will be one of the largest mass undertakings in human history, and we will need to move as quickly as the vaccines can be produced,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement.
“In order to move fast later, we must move fast now. By the end of the year, we will already have over half a billion syringes pre-positioned where they can be deployed quickly and cost effectively. That’s enough syringes to wrap around the world one and a half times,” she added.
The agency said it anticipates delivering over one billion syringes to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts on top of the 620 million syringes that it will purchase for other vaccination programs against other diseases such as measles and typhoid.
The UNICEF, along with the World Health Organization (WHO), said it will make sure that the vaccines are transported and stored at the right temperature. It will also map out existing cold chain equipment and storage capacity in both private and public sectors and prepare the necessary guidance for countries to receive the vaccines.
“We are doing everything we can to deliver these essential supplies efficiently, effectively, and at the right temperature, as we already do so well all over the world,” Fore said.