Covid Vaccine: UNICEF to stockpile 520 mn syringes by year-end


20th October, 2020 10:24:06 printer

Covid Vaccine: UNICEF to stockpile 520 mn syringes by year-end


The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has begun laying the groundwork for Covid-19 vaccination by purchasing and pre-positioning syringes and other necessary equipment, reports Xinhua.

UNICEF will stockpile 520 million syringes by the end of this year in its warehouses, part of a larger plan of 1 billion syringes by 2021, to guarantee initial supply and help ensure that syringes arrive in countries before the Covid- 19 vaccines, it said on Monday.

Historic undertaking

"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," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore in a press release.

‘Safety boxes’ for disposal

Besides syringes, UNICEF is also buying 5 million safety boxes so that used syringes and needles can be disposed of in a safe manner, thus preventing the risk of needle stick injuries and blood-borne diseases. Every safety box carries 100 syringes, reports UN news.

Lead-times for injection equipment such as syringes and safety boxes are long as these items are bulky and need to be transported by sea freight.

Vaccines, which are heat sensitive, are normally transported more quickly by air freight. In addition to saving time, early purchase of syringes and safety boxes also reduces pressure on the market and preempts potential early spikes in demand when vaccines do become available, said the press release.

Covid-19 vaccines will likely treble or quadruple that number, depending on the number that are ultimately produced and secured by UNICEF.