CAPE TOWN – As the world patiently waits for the coronavirus vaccine, the United Nations has begun laying the groundwork.
On Monday the organisation said it would stockpile one billion syringes around the world by the end of 2021, to be used for the delivery of any future coronavirus vaccine.
UN Children’s Fund, said it also aims to get 520 million syringes in its warehouses by the end of this year, to guarantee an initial supply in countries ahead of the vaccine.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director said: “Vaccinating the world against Covid-19 will be one of the largest mass undertakings in human history, and we will need to move as quickly as the vaccines can be produced,”
“In order to move fast later, we must move fast now. By the end of the year, we will already have over half a billion syringes pre-positioned where they can be deployed quickly and cost effectively. That’s enough syringes to wrap around the world one and a half times.”
Besides syringes, UNICEF is also buying 5 million safety boxes so that used syringes and needles can be disposed of in a safe manner by personnel at health facilities, thus preventing the risk of needle stick injuries and blood borne diseases.
Every safety box carries 100 syringes. According to UNICEF it is “bundling” the syringes with safety boxes to ensure enough safety boxes are available to go along with the syringes.
The billion syringes come on top of the 620 million that UNICEF would purchase for other vaccination programmes against diseases such as measles and typhoid.
The WHO says 42 vaccine candidates are currently being tested on humans, of which 10 have reached the mass testing third and final stage.
A further 156 are being worked on in laboratories in preparation for human testing. Typically, only around 10 percent of vaccine candidates make it through the trials.
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