28 April 2021, Cairo, Egypt – Following the successful delivery of the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccines to 15 countries in the Region, the COVAX Facility is coordinating additional shipments to 13 countries in the Region. Jordan has already received an additional 146 400 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and more countries are expected to receive new shipments in the coming weeks and months.
All countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region have started vaccination against COVID-19, with 37 million doses administered so far. WHO’s role to facilitate these arrivals is complex and includes easing regulatory barriers, managing shipments, organizing arrivals, and securing clearances and receipt of the vaccines by countries.
Once the vaccine has arrived in country, it needs to reach the populations who need it. WHO facilitates a training plan for vaccinators, supervisors, and community mobilizers, and works closely works with health authorities on the reporting, management, and analysis of adverse events following immunization (AEFI). Finally, WHO ensures availability of a strong monitoring and evaluation system.
“COVID-19 vaccines are a safe and effective to end this pandemic. Under the regional vision of health for all by all, we want as many people as possible to have access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. “With commitment and solidarity, we can hope to end the acute phase of the pandemic by the end of 2021,” he stressed. “With so many people in the Region affected by other emergencies, we need to make sure that all persons eligible to the vaccine receive it, regardless of their geographical location or political affiliation.”
“We need to start with those most exposed, like health care workers. We need to continue with those most at risk of severe disease, like the elderly. Ultimately, no one will be safe until everyone is safe,” Dr Al-Mandhari said. “This is our goal during this critical time.”
As of 28 April 2021, the Eastern Mediterranean Region has reported over 9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and almost 180 906 deaths (case-fatality rate = 2.0%) since the beginning of the pandemic. The number of new cases and deaths increased steadily as variants continue to be detected and communities are not adhering to public health and social measures.
About COVAX Facility The 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. The 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).