Emirates takes off the first flight under UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to Ghana
On February 24, UNICEF delivered its first Covid-19 vaccine shipment, on behalf of COVAX Facility, from Mumbai to Ghana.
- The vaccine to Ghana is from Serum Institute of India.
- This week, UNICEF and AstraZeneca signed a long-term agreement for the supply of Covid-19 vaccine.
February 26, 2021: On February 24, UNICEF delivered its first Covid-19 vaccine shipment, on behalf of COVAX Facility, from Mumbai to Ghana. The vaccine was carried by Emirates from the Serum Institute of India. These 600,000 COVAX vaccines are part of an initial tranche of deliveries of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine licensed to the Serum Institute of India.
Commenting on this shipment at the Vaccine Logistics Virtual Summit organised by Logistics Update Africa, Mounir Bouazar, global logistics lead for Covid-19 Vaccines and Related Supplies – UNICEF, said, “This is an interesting shipment as there were no flights to Ghana on tuesdays. We utilised the potential of our partners under UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative and identified the target airline to transport this shipment. Within 15 minutes, Emirates managed to divert the flight that was supposed to go from Shanghai to Dubai, for instance, to make a technical stop in Mumbai to pick up the vaccines and then to Dubai, from where syringes and related-devices were loaded and sent to Ghana. ”
The Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative brings together a number of partners collectively capable of distributing essential supplies to more than 100 markets in support of the COVAX Facility. At present, 16 airlines have partnered in the initiative, "more airlines will join the initiative in future", he noted.
UNICEF in a release said, “We are pleased that Ghana has become the first country to receive the Covid-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility. We congratulate the government of Ghana – especially the ministry of health, Ghana Health Service, and ministry of information - for its relentless efforts to protect the population.”
On February 11, UNICEF announced the signing of an agreement with Pfizer for the supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine through 2021, following an agreement with the Serum Institute of India.
This week, UNICEF and AstraZeneca signed a long-term agreement for the supply of Covid-19 vaccine. Through the supply agreement, UNICEF, along with procurement partners including the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), will have access to up to 170 million doses of vaccines for around 85 countries. This is the third such agreement for Covid-19 vaccines, following previously announced agreements with Pfizer and the Serum Institute of India.
Deliveries of the vaccine are planned to begin in the first quarter of 2021, in line with the COVAX Allocation Framework that take into consideration several factors including country readiness, national regulatory authorizations and completed contractual provisions, as well as operating and supply considerations.
The COVAX Facility, co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, together with UNICEF, aims to provide at least 2 billion doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.