First batch of COVAX-facilitated vaccines reach Albania
12 March 2021
- UN praises Albania’s support for an equitable global distribution of vaccines
The first 38,400 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines arrived today in Albania through COVAX - the UN led global facility established to secure fair and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for every country in the world.
The UN Resident Coordinator Fiona McCluney, UNICEF Representative Roberto De Bernardi and WHO Albania Representative, Gerald Rockenschaub joined Minister of Health and Social Protection Ogerta Manastirliu to welcome the shipment at ‘Mother Teresa’ International Airport in Tirana.
On behalf of the UN Country Team in Albania, Ms. McCluney praised Albania for being part of the global vaccine equity mechanism: “We are so glad to witness today the start of COVAX-facilitated vaccine rollout. COVAX initiative is ‘walking the talk’ of multilateralism – we can only win this pandemic together. Beyond ensuring a fast rollout of vaccines to Albania, being part of COVAX signifies strong support for the equal global distribution of vaccines.” – she said.
UNICEF’s Roberto De Bernardi said that COVAX means best availability and fastest delivery of vaccines: “Thanks to COVAX and its global scale, the cost of vaccines is significantly lower than any alternative commercial path and, thanks to UNICEF’s vaccine procurement strength, the best availability and fastest possible delivery of life-saving vaccines is guaranteed.” – he said.
WHO Representative in Albania stressed that the vaccine rollout through the international solidarity mechanism of the COVAX Facility will help to save lives, first and foremost to protect the healthcare workers, as well as the elderly and high-risk groups, but it is equally important not to rely solely on vaccines. “Basic public health measures remain the foundation of the response: we need to reinforce these,” – Dr Rockenschaub said.
More than 2.5 million people around the world have died from COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization. The COVID-19 vaccines will stop people from dying, prevent new variants from emerging, reignite economies and offer the best hope to end the pandemic.
The COVAX initiative is co-led by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), alongside its key delivering partner UNICEF.