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$1b needed for global COVID-19 vaccine distribution – UNICEF

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UNITED Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) yesterday, projected that around $1 billion was needed to help poor countries to access COVID-19 vaccines globally.

  Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, gave the estimate while urging wealthy countries to contribute more money to vaccine rollout at the on-going World Government Summit in Dubai.

  “We have been asking the world for more funding for UNICEF and our distributions to countries we still need about $1 billion. There is still more to do and we could do with more help and assistance,” Fore said.

She also said that funding could be used to strengthen health systems in poorer nations and support the distribution of vaccines under the COVAX initiative which aims to deliver at least two billion of COVID-19 vaccine doses this year, including 1.3 billion doses to lower-income countries.

  Fore urged vaccine makers to sign licensing agreements so vaccines could be made locally, singling out Africa as one market that needed it, adding that it was unlikely that the COVAX scheme would be able to cover the world in 2021.

  It will be recalled that UNICEF, the world’s single largest vaccine buyer, is part of the World Health Organisation backed COVAX programme to supply COVID-19 shots to emerging economies.

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