Three countries that have seen the impact of COVID-19 vaccine delivery funding
More than US$ 1 billion has been approved by Gavi for 87 COVAX-supported lower-income countries to help them deliver COVID-19 vaccines to every corner of their countries. Here are three examples of where this funding is making a difference.
- 1 May 2023
- 3 min read
- by Annette Wangong’u
As hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses began making their way to lower-income countries in 2021 and 2022, countries still faced the challenge of how to ensure they could reach the vulnerable communities that needed them.
“These additional resources are vital investments that will further strengthen the health system as a whole, supporting integration of COVID-19 vaccines into routine immunisation programmes and ensuring more children are protected against various vaccine-preventable diseases.”
While Gavi had been working in most of the recipient countries for a number of years to strengthen health systems, the strain on these systems in responding to COVID-19, and rapidly immunising adults, was unprecedented. Cold chain infrastructure needed to be expanded, and other support was urgently needed to accommodate this huge influx of new vaccines.
With more than US$ 1 billion in COVID-19 Delivery Support (CDS) provided by international donors via Gavi now approved, we can start to see the impact it is having:
In January 2022 Somalia's COVID-19 vaccine coverage stood at just 5%. Today that figure has climbed to 41%. COVID-19 Delivery Support helped scale up the country's cold chain capacity to include four Ultra Cold Chain units and 25 solar direct drive vaccine fridges. It has helped build online digital systems to support vaccination and to accelerate decision-making, and supported risk communications training and community engagement training of health workers, for both COVID-19 and routine immunisation. All of this work will not only help with the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, but also support the health system for decades to come.
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COVID-19 vaccine coverage was at 2% at the beginning of 2022; today it is at 54% of its population. COVID-19 Delivery Support helped the country develop a platform for the integrated distribution and administration of COVID-19 and essential childhood vaccines, as seen most recently by an integrated measles campaign in the Katavi Region. As Gavi's Managing Director for Vaccine Markets and & Health Security, Derrick Sim, says: "Tanzania has developed some highly innovative approaches on how to roll out COVID-19 vaccines and at the same time, catch up on routine immunisation programmes. The country's progress and commitment shown by government and partners to protect people against COVID-19 is commendable."
3. Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone has successfully vaccinated more than 70% of its population against COVID-19, with help from COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Support. Earlier this year the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership helped deliver vehicles, motorbikes and computers to support the programme, all of which will also help deliver essential childhood immunisation, as Gavi's Director of COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery, Richard Mihigo, says: "These additional resources are vital investments that will further strengthen the health system as a whole, supporting integration of COVID-19 vaccines into routine immunisation programmes and ensuring more children are protected against various vaccine-preventable diseases."
CDS funds are delivered to countries by the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, which is co-led by Gavi, UNICEF and WHO.