UNICEF to lead Supply Chain for COVID-19 Vaccine

By Emily Cook
UNICEF partners with manufacturers on the procurement, freight, logistics and storage of COVID-19 vaccine...

For what could be the world’s fastest and largest procurement and supply of vaccines, UNICEF joins as part of the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX Facility) led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. 

With several vaccines looking promising, UNICEF, in collaboration with PAHO Resolving Fun will be leaders in supplying vaccines for over 92 low income countries. The country's vaccine costs will be supported by COVAX's commitment to “guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for every country in the world, rich and poor”. As well as this, UNICEF will also serve as procurement coordinator to support procurement by 80 higher-income economies. These economies are participating in COVAX’s facility agreement and will finance the vaccines using their own finance budgets.

The COVAX Facility

The COVAX facility is a global collaboration to support and streamline the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests and vaccines. COVAX is co-led by GAVI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO. 

COVAX aims to guarantee fair and equitable distribution and access of COVID-19 vaccines. They offer doses for at least 20% of countries’ populations, vaccines as soon as they are available and in the long term, the rebuild of disrupted economies. 

Manufacturing plays an important role in the distribution of vaccines and COVAX intends to build manufacturing capacity now. This means, reaching the highest capacity that a manufacturing operation can reach to meet an immediate increase in customer demand. COVAX believes reaching capacity is necessary in order to; produce early doses for clinical studies, scale up processes to industrial scale, stockpile vaccinations in bulk and repurpose facilities for successful products.   


As it stands, UNICEF is the largest single vaccine buyer in the world, procuring more than 2 billion vaccinations annually for routine immunisation. It is the top procurement provider of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has helped more than 760 million children with life-saving vaccines in the last 20 years. 

This extreme global effort couldn’t be possible without the support of the world’s largest procurement companies and partnerships including UNICEF, Gavi, WHO and PAVO. All 4 companies have begun critical preparations for vaccine readiness. 

They have worked alongside partners and governments to prepare for the vaccine. These efforts include:

  • Planning with manufacturers to plan availability of safe injection equipment.
  • Working with WHO to develop support for the handling and distribution of vaccines. 
  • Supporting manufacturers to plan for vaccination delivery as quickly as possible.

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