The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided Bangladesh with 18 freezer trucks for the safe transport of COVID-19 vaccines, like these Pfizer-BioNTech doses arriving at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on May 31. (Â© UNICEF / Sujan)
The United States is committed to being the global arsenal of vaccines. The United States already has donated 300 million doses of vaccine worldwide. But delivering to remote communities is no easy task. Some doses of the vaccine should be kept near or below freezing, even when crossing mountains in Nepal and lakes in Uganda or up rivers in Peru.
âVaccines have to travel along our rivers,â said Dr Carlos Calampa, health director for the Loreto region in Peru. UNICEF, a partner organization from the United States. âThe distances are long and the cold chain cannot be broken. “
On December 6, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a new Global Vaccine Access Initiative (Global VAX) to support cold storage and other challenges in the global COVID vaccine delivery campaign -19.
USAID will provide $ 400 million to speed up immunizations around the world and provide other emergency resources to save lives now. The initiative places particular emphasis on the delivery of vaccines to Africa.
âTo date, the US government has responded in more than 120 countries to help fight COVID-19,â according to a December 6 USAID statement. “With the announcement of Global VAX, the United States will accelerate its efforts to immunize the world and save lives.”
The United States has pledged to donate more than 1.2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the world. Donations are free and most doses are delivered via COVAX, the international partnership dedicated to the equitable distribution of vaccines.
Through the new Global VAX initiative, USAID will invest:
- $ 315 million to overcome the cold chain, human resources, vaccine reluctance and other challenges.
- $ 10 million to help countries manufacture vaccines themselves, supporting the new regulations and training.
- $ 75 million for rapid response support from USAID, which provides oxygen and other critical medical aids to COVID-19 hotspots.
With Global VAX funding, the United States has committed more than $ 1.6 billion to support vaccine delivery efforts and vaccine supply chains around the world.
For example, the United States and its partners have provided cold chain vaccine storage equipment to many countries:
- The US Department of Defense donated 300 ultra-low temperature freezers to Peru.
- The US military donated 200 vaccine refrigerators to 114 public hospitals and clinics in Thailand.
- The US military has delivered 13 cold storage units to hospitals in the Philippines.
- USAID donated 18 freezer trucks to Bangladesh to transport millions of vaccines donated by the United States.
- Unicef donated over 200 ultra-cold freezers in 24 countries, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Nigeria.
These donations are helping countries deliver doses of the vaccine to isolated communities, Calampa, the director of health in Loreto, Peru, told UNICEF. The United Nations charity has helped deliver 1,100 solar-powered freezers to Peru. “These freezers will allow us to have a stable supply of ice so that we can continue to vaccinate people along the different river basins,” Calampa said.