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WHO improves regional vaccine production, distributes vaccines to the vulnerable and delivers essential supplies in the continued fight against COVID-19

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"Last week, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths reported to WHO declined for the first time in more than two months. This is obviously very welcome, but it doesn’t mean much. Around the world many countries are still seeing steep increases in cases and deaths,” said this week Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

To support countries around the world, continue their fight against the pandemic, WHO, with backing from donors and partners, is working to boost vaccination, testing and oxygen delivery while helping to protect the vulnerable.

Donors supporting the many pillars of the COVID-19 response in South Sudan

The African Development Bank recently donated two cars through WHO to support the government of South Sudan’s ongoing COVID-19 response.

The country has also begun producing oxygen following the successful installation of the its first oxygen plant at Juba Teaching Hospital, set up with funding from the African Development Fund and implemented by WHO as part of the COVID-19 response.

The European Union (EU) and WHO recently established a molecular diagnostic laboratory in South Sudan to increase testing capacity for COVID-19 and other high-threat infectious diseases.

Improving vaccine production in regions: Americas

WHO Regional Office for the Americas Director Carissa F. Etienne recently said that severe shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in Latin America and the Caribbean is a “wake-up call” for increased regional production of vaccines and announced the start of a new platform to reach that goal

“PAHO will launch a platform to boost regional vaccine manufacturing efforts, beginning with the first in a series of meetings to promote greater coordination across countries and to enlist partners from both the public and private sectors to turn this idea into reality,” Dr. Etienne said at a recent media briefing.

Sharing vaccines through COVAX: Barbados, Honduras, Iran, and the Republic of Congo

Barbados recently received 33,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility co-led by WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi-the Vaccine Alliance, and UNICEF. The delivery event was attended by representatives from the United States, Japan, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and Canada.

Honduras recently received the first delivery for a total of 99,450 doses of COVID-19 vaccines out of a total of 188,370 delivered in recent weeks, made possible by a donation from the United States through the COVAX mechanism.

The Republic of the Congo recently received a batch of 302,400 Covid-19 vaccine doses donated by the United States as part of the COVAX initiative.

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as one of the self-financing participant countries in the COVAX Facility, recently received a third batch of COVID-19 vaccines comprising approximately 1.5 million doses.

Extending vaccination campaigns to rural areas and the homeless: Sierra Leone and Brazil

With increasing supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, Sierra Leone, working with WHO, has recently intensified its vaccination campaign to boost protection among its population. Beginning in August, health authorities and the National COVID-19 Emergency Response Centre, deployed approximately 600 mobile and static teams of frontline personnel to administer vaccines in towns and villages throughout the country.

Communities in Brazil are continuing the efforts to protect homeless populations from COVID-19 through vaccination campaigns in shelters and health facilities. The country has been pursuing a similar strategy for several diseases since 2011. The plan is supported by the WHO Regional Office for the Americas (WHO/PAHO.

Providing essential medical supplies for vaccines and testing: Laos, Somalia, and Sri Lanka

In its continued effort to support Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 response, in August WHO provided 2 million syringes urgently needed for on-going vaccinations.

Dr Alaka Singh, WHO Representative in Sri Lanka said at the delivery event “at this critical time, WHO values the collaboration extended by donors for the COVID-19 response. WHO appreciates the volume and, importantly, the flexibility of funding which means we can be more responsive to country’s needs.

WHO recently delivered a large stock of COVID-19 testing reagents and supplies valued at approximately AUD 2.25 million to the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The contribution from the Australian Government is in addition to Australia’s support of AUD 16.2 million to the Lao Government for COVID-19 vaccine support.

Minister of Health DrBounfeng Phoummalaysith said at the delivery ceremony, “The Ministry of Health would like to thank the Australian Government for this timely contribution to the COVID-19 response, particularly as we are seeing a surge in cases in the past months.”