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COVAX publishes first interim distribution forecast
Geneva/Oslo/New York, 3 February 2021 – The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation, as co-leads of the COVAX initiative for equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, alongside key delivery partner UNICEF, are pleased to publish COVAX’s first interim distribution forecast.

Building on the publication of the 2021 COVAX global and regional supply forecast, the interim distribution forecast provides information on early projected availability of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Q1 2021 and the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine candidate in first half 2021 to COVAX Facility participants. This announcement comes less than two weeks after the announcement of the signed advance purchase agreement with Pfizer/BioNTech and a little more than a month after the first COVID-19 vaccine received WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) approval.

The purpose of sharing the interim distribution with countries, even in today’s highly dynamic global supply environment, is to provide governments and health systems with the information they need to plan for their national vaccination programmes. Final allocations will be published in due course.

The interim distribution forecast outlines projected delivery of vaccine doses to all Facility participants, with the exception of participants who have either exercised their rights to opt-out, have not submitted vaccine requests, or have not yet been allocated doses.

Classified as Internal
In line with initial guidance delivered on 22 January, and building on the publication of the 2021 COVAX global and regional supply forecast, the COVAX Facility is pleased to share the following forecast on early availability of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine to Facility participants, subject the caveats listed below.

This document contains information on indicative distribution of 240 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, licensed to Serum Institute of India (SII) –hereinafter “AZ/SII” and 96 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, under the advance purchase agreement between Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and AstraZeneca –hereinafter “AZ”, for Q1& Q2 2021.

It also contains an overview of exceptional first round allocation of1.2 million doses of the WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL)-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – hereinafter “Pfizer-BioNTech”, for Q1 2021.

It is important to note additional doses of both these products will be available to the COVAX Facility in 2021…

Overview of the Process
COVAX currently anticipates 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be available to the COVAX Facility in Q1 2021, subject to the completion of additional agreements, and will be complemented by the larger volumes of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine available to the Facility during the same time period. Additional volumes of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be available in the second quarter and beyond, per the signed advance purchase agreement between Gavi and Pfizer-BioNTech for up to 40 million doses.

As a result, an exceptional process of distribution was undertaken to ensure maximum public health benefit from the smaller volume of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine anticipated to be available for Q1delivery.All future allocation rounds will follow the standard Facility approach…

Total doses cover, on average, 3.3% of the total population of the 145 participants receiving doses from at least one manufacturer in the list detailed below. This is in line with the Facility target to reach at least 3% population coverage in all countries in the first half of the year, enough to protect the most vulnerable groups such as health care workers.

Participants that do not appear in the list below have either exercised their rights to opt-out, have not submitted vaccine requests, or have not yet been allocated doses…


Editor’s Note:
The Distribution Forecast’s discussion of the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines, additional “Notes of clarification,” and a country-by-country allocation listing are available here.



UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore’s remarks at briefing on COVAX publishing interim distribution forecast
Statement – As delivered
NEW YORK, 3 February 2021 – “UNICEF is proud to be part of today’s release of an indicative distribution plan by the COVAX facility.

“This release will help countries continue their preparations for vaccine distribution by providing them with details of the type of vaccine each country will receive in the first and second quarters.

“This is, of course, just an initial tranche of COVAX vaccines. More will follow. We will continue to work on the supply agreements to meet the needs of the COVAX vaccine requirements for the first half of 2021.

“And we have some good news in that regard. Today we are pleased to announce the conclusion of a long-term supply agreement with the Serum Institute of India for covid-19 vaccines, to access two vaccine products through technology transfer from ASTRAZENECA and NOVAVAX. UNICEF, along with our procurement partners including PAHO, will have access to up to 1.1 billion doses of vaccines for around 100 countries, for approximately $3 a dose for the low- and lower middle-income countries.

This is great value for COVAX donors and a strong demonstration of one of the fundamental principles of COVAX – that by pooling our resources we can negotiate in bulk for the best possible deals.  Sharing pricing information is also a reflection to UNICEF’s commitment to transparency, which we have been demonstrating for the past ten years by publishing all negotiated prices for a range of commodities. As these supply agreements are concluded, we will continue to make public relevant details of the agreements, subject to the consent of the suppliers. Likewise, we look forward to working with SII to distribute these vaccines to countries, subject to the approval of the vaccine by WHO.

“With these indicative allocations, governments and public health experts can now initiate the steps needed for a successful initial roll-out of COVID vaccines to frontline healthcare workers—the first part of the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation ever mounted.

“For our part, UNICEF stands ready to fully support the roll-out of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines as the drive against this deadly virus shifts into a higher gear. Our country offices will support governments as they move forward with this first wave to ensure that they are ready to receive the vaccines that require ultra cold chain. This includes ensuring that health workers are fully trained in how to store and handle the vaccines. We must get this right. Many of these doses will go to health workers in urban areas, who are at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 infections…

Over recent months, UNICEF has also been preparing for this moment by stockpiling half a billion syringes, along with safety boxes to dispose them. We have worked closely with airlines and other partners to make sure that all the necessary logistical and planning arrangements are in place. And we are supporting governments and partners in developing national plans to assess their logistics. This includes helping to plan, coordinate, budget, and prepare their health facilities and cold chain ahead of vaccine delivery. Along with WHO and Gavi, we are also advising countries to help improve their vaccine roll-out plans, every step of the way.

“Today’s release of these plans represents an important next step. For the countries receiving initial tranches of vaccines, preparatory work can now pivot to implementation and delivery. “For countries which have already initiated vaccination drives, and those yet to begin, this information is a hopeful marker on the winding path out of a pandemic that will not be truly over, until it is over for us all.”