Nurse Lillian Nimaya, 45, fills a syringe with a vaccine at Nyakuron Primary Health Care Centre in Juba, South Sudan. Photo Credit: Canadian Unicef Committee

COVID-19 UNICEF Canada: Canada's additional support for equitable access to COVID-19 tests

Monday, December 14, 2020 6:33:00 PM

The Government of Canada today showed significant leadership in the world's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a welcome new commitment for COVID-19 tests, treatment and vaccines. This includes support for UNICEF to procure up to 3 million courses of novel COVID-19 antibody therapeutics as soon as clinical trials and regulatory approvals have been completed.
UNICEF Canada welcomes the Government of Canada's new contributions to fight the global pandemic, and the critical support this will provide to over-burdened health systems in many developing countries. In the poorest areas of the world, COVID-19 is stretching capacity to respond to other major health concerns that threaten children's survival, including routine immunization and treatment of malnutrition.

Building on years of experience in providing vaccines for almost half of the world's children, UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply COVID-19 vaccines for 171 countries on behalf of the COVAX Facility. In 2021, UNICEF will deliver 2 billion vaccines, 245 million therapeutics and 500 million tests to low and middle-income countries in a safe and equitable way.

UNICEF is also working to support countries to 'ready' their immunization programs for this historic roll-out. This includes helping countries to strengthen their cold and supply chains, training health workers, and working with communities in addressing misinformation and building trust in vaccines and in the health systems that deliver lifesaving vaccines.

UNICEF is proud to contribute to the efforts of the ACT-Accelerator and COVAX Facility. By positioning itself as the second-largest financial supporter of the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, the Government of Canada has demonstrated that Canada understands that the global COVID-19 pandemic can only be defeated through a coordinated global response.

Canada's support to UNICEF and other global partners cooperating on the ACT-Accelerator is helping to ensure that, as vaccines become available, no country is pushed to the back of the line—recognizing that the whole world will remain vulnerable to the virus until countries with the weakest health systems are protected from it as well.

UNICEF Canada applauds Canada's decision to ensure the additional funding for COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines does not come at the expense of much-needed funding for existing global priorities. With the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacting children's access to life-saving immunization and nutrition, as well as critical services to protect children from violence and ensure their education, Canada's commitment to existing global priorities must remain unwavering.

We look forward to further collaboration with the Government of Canada to provide the training and support to health systems that will protect and potentially save lives of frontline workers in low and middle-income countries and ensure that the children in those countries survive and thrive to fulfil their potential.

At UNICEF Canada, our top priority remains securing life-saving and life-changing investments and services in children. Supporting COVAX will mean helping put an end to a pandemic that creates serious threats to the most vulnerable children around the world.

SOURCE: Canadian Unicef Committee