UNICEF chief: $1bn more needed for COVAX COVID-19 vaccine rollout

March 10, 2021
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The UNICEF on Wednesday urged countries to contribute more money to help poor countries to access Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines, saying around $1 billion was needed.

UNICEF, the world’s single largest vaccine buyer, is part of the World Health Organisation-backed COVAX programme to supply COVID-19 shots to emerging economies.

“We have been asking the world for more funding for UNICEF and our distribution to countries we still need about $1 billion,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said at Dubai’s World Government Summit.

That funding could be used to strengthen health systems in poorer nations and support the distribution of vaccines there, she said.

The COVAX initiative aims to deliver at least 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses this year, including 1.3 billion doses to lower-income countries.

Fore urged vaccine makers to sign licensing agreements so vaccines could be made locally, singling out Africa as one market that needed it.

She also said it was unlikely that the COVAX scheme would be able to cover the world in 2021.

“There is still more to do and we could do with more help and assistance,” Fore said.

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