Bild 5 von 7 | In Malé, Maldives, on 23 February 2021, UNICEF Regional Emergency Advisor for South Asia Carmen van Heese and UNICEF Maldives Communications for Development Office Muhamad Yasir celebrate the 100,000 syringes and 1,000 safety boxes that have just arrived from UNICEF's humanitarian warehouse in Dubai.
The syringes are of the auto-disable type, which means they cannot be used again after a single dose of vaccine has been administered. This reduces the risk of infection from blood-borne diseases as a result of syringe re-use. The safety boxes allow for the safe disposal of used syringes. The arrival is part of the first wave of COVID-19-related syringe shipments by UNICEF on behalf of the COVAX facility. Other countries in the first wave of shipments include Côte d'Ivoire and São Tomé and Príncipe.
UNICEF is leading in the procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines for 82 low- and lower middle-income countries participating in the COVAX Facility. 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, enabling participating economies to protect frontline health care and social workers, as well as other high-risk and vulnerable groups. In all, UNICEF will be supplying up to 1 billion syringes and 10 million safety boxes to countries in 2021 to ensure they are ready for COVID-19 vaccinations. In order to meet the demand for these vital supplies, UNICEF created a stockpile of almost half a billion syringes in its warehouses in Copenhagen and Dubai in preparation for the broader rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
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