Cairo, 14 February 2021 – The COVAX Facility, a global coalition that works to ensure fair and equitable access of vaccines for COVID-19 around the world, has notified health authorities in the occupied Palestinian territory and Tunisia of their allocation of COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first wave of deliveries to countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.
By mid-February 2021, over 37 000 vaccine doses of the Pfizer vaccine will reach the occupied Palestinian territory and almost 94 000 doses will reach Tunisia for the most at-risk and vulnerable people living in these countries.
“Countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region have started gearing up to receive and deploy the vaccines among their communities. With news of vaccines soon to be delivered to vulnerable people in the occupied Palestinian territory and Tunisia this month, we are hopeful that we are on the right track in the fight against this pandemic,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
20 countries in the Region are awaiting an additional estimated 46 to 56 million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine doses via COVAX Facility during the first half of this year.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is still under review for WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL), which is expected to occur soon. The doses delivery is subject to EUL and countries fulfilling requirements to confirm readiness for receiving the vaccines.
WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean continues to work with countries to provide technical guidance, ensure systems and logistics in place for successful rollout and distribution, and ensure vaccine safety.
“Until every last person is vaccinated, we need to continue to comply with local and national public health and social measures, and to take simple precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari.
*COVAX Facility is a global coalition that works to ensure fair and equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. So far, 190 countries have joined the COVAX initiative, including all 22 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. COVAX Facility aims to have 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines available for distribution across the globe by the end of 2021, targeting those most at risk (e.g. frontline health workers) and most vulnerable severe diseases and death (e.g. elderly and people with co-morbidities).*