And in the middle of all of this will be a politician with dubious ‘ties’ to a syringe manufacturing company!
The U.N. agency said it was amassing medical equipment to be prepared when the first coronavirus vaccines for widespread use were approved.
UNICEF, the world’s largest single buyer of vaccines, is not waiting for approval of the first coronavirus vaccines for widespread use. The U.N. agency said Monday that it was purchasing and distributing more than half a billion single-dose syringes and other critical equipment in countries where it operates, to be ready when the time comes.
In a statement, UNICEF said the advance stockpiling — a collaboration with GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance — was part of a larger plan to amass one billion syringes by 2021 to guarantee a supply “and help ensure that syringes arrive in countries before the Covid-19 vaccines.”
Henrietta H. Fore, the executive director of UNICEF, said the agency was anticipating that the vaccination effort would be “one of the largest mass undertakings in human history” and was working to avert the possibility that vaccines would be available but the means to administer them would not.
“In order to move fast later, we must move fast now.”Henrietta H. Fore
As a rule, when it comes to syringe manufacturing and distribution, little moves particularly quickly.
Unlike vaccines, which are heat sensitive and so are usually shipped by air, syringes, which have a shelf life of five years, generally make their way to their destination by sea, UNICEF said.
UNICEF said it expected to obtain the half-billion syringes by the end of the year. The agency said it was also procuring five million safety boxes for disposal of used syringes, as well as solar-powered refrigerators to store the vaccines in countries with scant access to electric power.
The UNICEF announcement came against a backdrop of uncertainty over precisely when any of the dozens of vaccines in various stages of development around the world would become widely available. The first are expected in coming months.
The Trump administration has publicly refused to join the international collaborative agreement known as Covax, under which the World Health Organization, GAVI and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations have collaborated to ensure that rich and poor countries simultaneously receive new coronavirus vaccines.
Instead, the U.S. government has pursued a unilateral vaccine development program known as Operation Warp Speed. It has paid $11 billion to six vaccine companies that agreed to supply at least 100 million doses each, along with options for millions more, earmarked exclusively for the United States.